Saturday's card at Arlington features one juvenile maiden race, a special weight turf mile carded as the seventh race of the day.
The race drew a full field of twelve, including three first-time starters. those debut runners include Rustic Rick for Brian Williamson, Le Pond for Jim DiVito, and Swifty Sam for Doug Matthews.
Trainer Chris Block is well-represented, with both More Than A. P. for owner Lothenbach Stables and Extra Medium for owner Don Samaan. Lothenbach also owns Whata Perfect Day, who went out as Block's charge when he debuted last month but now enters under trainer Neil Pessin, another Lothenbach regular. Lothenbach horses (and sometimes horses for other owners) often shift between Block and Pessin, so when handicapping, it makes sense not to treat it as an owner change.
Race 7: Maiden special weight, two-year-olds, one mile on the turf, post time 4:12pm CDT
- DRILLIANT (8/1) - Drilliant is by Drill, a first-crop sire who won at second asking at two, sprinting on polytrack, and followed that up with a victory in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) at seven furlongs on poly. Five of his thirteen starters have won already, though they've all scored at sprint distances. Dam Forbidden Image (Forbidden Apple) placed twice in six starts at two, though didn't graduate until the summer of her three-year-old year. Most of her wins came at two turns on synthetics, though she also had a seven-furlong grass win. All three of the dam's other runners have won, including one who won on turf, but all three were also sprinters. Second dam Inhisimage (Inishpour) won fifth-out at three; she went on to produce six winners, though none graduated at two.
- LUCKY FAST (10/1) - A fourth-time starter, his pedigree was covered in detail before his August 4 race. In summary his pedigree is route-oriented, with two-year-old class and form over both turf and dirt.
- MORE THAN A. P. (5/2) - This colt makes his third start, and his pedigree was covered in detail before his August 4 debut. Sire More Than Ready is as versatile as it gets; most of his dam's family consists of dirt sprinters, though there are some relatives who have successfully stretched to a mile and beyond.
- RUSTIC RICK (10/1) - Rustic Rick is by second-crop sire Country Day, a Speightstown son who won stakes sprinting over both dirt and turf. Dam Ric Rac (Service Stripe) was unplaced in four starts as a juvenile, but found her best at a mile and a mile and a sixteenth on grass. All three of her starters have won, and all three have done so on grass. Only one won at two; Applique (Kipling) won a turf mile at second asking at two. Fringe -- his half-sister by a different Speightstown son, Munnings -- got off the mark at age three in a polytrack sprint at Arlington earlier this summer, and later won a turf mile as well. Rustic Rick's second dam Wade For Me (Western Playboy) won at third asking as a juvenile, sprinting on dirt, though grew up to win at two turns on both dirt and turf, including a score in the 2000 Modesty Handicap (G3).
- FULLA BLARNEY (10/1) - He is by Girolamo, a two-year-old debut winner who shined in extended one-turn races on dirt. The turf record of his progeny is useful: 11% win rate on the grass, 8% first time on turf. Dam Blarney Blush (Van Nistelrooy) never raced. She has two starters: Painted Pistol (Smokin Glock) was unplaced in one race at two, and Blarney Blush (Pure Prize) won fourth-out at two and has won twice since, with her triumphs at six furlongs on polytrack. Second dam Bonita Gail (Geiger Counter) placed in one of two career starts, both of which came as a juvenile. She produced Soccer, a full brother to Blarney Blush, who won on debut at two sprinting over the Lingfield all-weather. She also produced Girls Rock N Rule (Good Reward), a juvenile debut winner sprinting over the polytrack, and Class N Charm (Lure), a third-out winner at two going one turn over the Hawthorne dirt,
- LE POND (8/1) - This colt is by well-proven turf route sire English Channel. a 14% winner on the grass, though a 10% winner first-time turf. He is best known for his older horses, and his progeny statistics bear that out -- only 56 of his 225 juvenile runners have won at two. Even at two his progeny tend to appreciate distance -- including English Laughter, who just won a juvenile turf mile at Arlington on Thursday. Dam Paradise Pond (Cox's Ridge) did not race at two; she graduated sixth-out at three at a mile on dirt, and later won a turf route. She has produced five winners of seven to start, including one stakes winner. That stakes winner was also her only juvenile winner: Atomic Rain (Smart Strike), a second-out winner at age two in a dirt sprint. He went on to finish second in the nine-furlong Remsen (G2) in his next start, and went on to win a listed two-turn stake on dirt at three. Half-sister Grecourt Gates (Dixie Union) did not race at two, but won her debut early in her three-year-old year, sprinting on polytrack. Second dam Itstimetocelebrate (Timeless Native) was precocious: she won three times at age two. She broke her maiden at second asking, sprinting on the Woodbine dirt, and also won an allowance and a minor stakes race at one turn on dirt at two.
- EXTRA MEDIUM (12/1) - This colt is by Temple City, whose best have typically been milers and routers, and most of them have needed time to develop. Though, distance tends to suit them even at two, as evidenced by Temple City's 6.85 furlong average winning distance for juveniles. Dam Livia B Quick (Crafty Prospector) was unplaced in one start at two, but won second-out at three sprinting on polytrack. She also won on dirt, and though she never won on grass, she captured several placings in turf sprints. All six of her starters other than Extra Medium are winners, with one winner on grass. Raging Sea (Stormy Atlantic) won second-out at two, sprinting on dirt, making him his dam's only juvenile winner to date. The one turf winner was Barbary Hall (Majestic Warrior), mostly a dirt sprinter in her career but a one-time turf sprint victress. Most of her foals have been routers, though Won Won Oh Five (Lawyer Ron) showed aptitude at two turns on dirt.
- WHATA PERFECT DAY (4/1) - He makes his second start, and his pedigree was covered in detail before his August 4 race. In summary, he is by a strong stamina sire (Blame) from a well-proven turf family (that of Vacare, Captivating Moon, No Fault of Mine, and Nobody's Fault), and a family with which Blame has so far worked well.
- SWIFTY SAM (30/1) - This colt is by Hold Me Back, a debut juvenile winner at two turns on the Arlington polytrack, who went on to become a multiple graded stakes winner routing on polytrack. His progeny are only 4% winners first time on grass, but 11% in general over the green. Dam With Kid Gloves (Announce) was unplaced in her only start at two, and got off the mark fifth-out at three. She proved versatile; she graduated in a turf mile, but also win at sprint and mile distances on dirt. She has produced one winner of two to start; Morgan's Raider (Notional) placed twice in four starts at two, but graduated eighth-out at three. All of his form has come sprinting on dirt. Second dam Buckskin Gloves (Buckaroo) produced four juvenile winners, though only one on debut.
- MIGHTY MIGHT (8/1) - This Fort Prado colt makes his second start; the extra distance should be a help, as Fort Prado progeny tend to thrive with distance. Turf suits, as well; though his babies only win 6% of the time trying first-time turf, his general turf win rate is a useful 12%. He is the first foal out of the unraced Mizzen Mast mare Neat. Neat is, in turn, a daughter of Nicks (Salt Lake) -- meaning she comes from a deep and versatile Illinois family, that thrives with Cozzene-line (Mizzen Mast!) blood. Many of the ones in that family with Cozzene tend to like more distance, as well, so the stretch to a mile may suit. Nicks was also one of the more precocious in the family; she won second-out at two. She has produced one first-out winner: Princess Jules won a dirt sprint on debut at three, and like Mighty Might she is a Fort Prado. Stevie Mac (Munnings) won second-out at four, and Caliente Candy (Sidney's Candy) placed in her two-year-old debut last month.
- PATCH'S LUGH (20/1) - He makes his third start, and pedigree was discussed before his race on August 24. There isn't an overwhelming amount of precocity in the family, though there are flashes, and his winning close relatives tend to prefer one turn.
- COURTYARD (30/1) - He starts for the third time, and his pedigree was covered in detail before his August 4 race. The pedigree suits two turns on dirt top and bottom, though you have to dig a bit for juvenile form in the female family (his second dam is a full sister to first-out juvenile winner and eventual dual Classic winner Hansel).
#8 Whata Perfect Day is impeccably bred for a mile on grass, even as a juvenile, and was running on well late in his debut. He should be better with that bit of experience underneath him, and it's also a positive to see that he got another gate work since that debut race. Being involved sooner might prove the key to victory.
#10 Mighty Might might improve with the stretch-out in distance, as well as with the blinkers. He showed enough greenness early to suggest blinkers will help him, and there's enough long-on-turf in his close family to suggest the added distance and the move to grass could help him along.
#3 More Than A. P. is bred more for grass on top than on bottom, but has shown in his pair of starts -- both at a mile on the lawn -- that he got turf acumen from Dear Old Dad. He has run into trouble both times he has raced. That's a bit of a concern in this field of twelve maiden two-year-olds, but he has the stamina and the talent to win this with a clean trip,
As another to use underneath, #1 Drilliant still has some upside despite drawing the rail again. He started poorly in his debut on the Million undercard. I would have loved to see a gate work since then, but even though he didn't work from the gate, he did post regular, strong drills since that race. With a better start he should be in it sooner. It also helps that he hails from a top-notch turf barn, that of Ignacio Correas.
You can take "Picks & Ponderings" with you anytime, anywhere. You can get Twitter updates @picksponderings for on-scene reports from Arlington International Racecourse. And you can get "Picks and Ponderings" in your e-mail by typing your email address in the box and clicking "Create Subscription." It's a FREE service, and you'll never get any unwanted spam.