Chicago Racing Review: July 20-23, 2017

Standout Performances

Smoke 'n' Gloat gets a bath after his Springfield Stakes win on June 3.  (Photo: Nicolle Neulist)

Smoke ‘n’ Gloat gets a bath after his Springfield Stakes win on June 3. (Photo: Nicolle Neulist)

In Thursday’s third race, Smoke ‘n’ Gloat (Smoke Glacken – Lake in the Sky, by Out of Place) returned to make his first start since winning the Springfield Stakes, this time running against open three-year-old N1X/75K allowance-optional company. The Scott Becker trainee entered the race three-for-three this year…and left it four-for-four, justifying his even-money price and burnishing his place among the top echelon of the Illinois-bred three-year-old division. In that six-furlong polytrack race, he stalked the early pace set by Blue Belt, took over past the quarter pole, and opened up to win by three and three-quarters lengths over late-running What’s Up Dude.

Friday’s third race featured a hard-knocking denizen of the Chicago circuit finding one of his best efforts to date. Eight-year-old Costly King (Sun King – Jiffy Wish, by Numerous) has long shown affinity for the polytrack at Arlington, but so many things did not go his way on the day’s seven-furlong trip. He was bumped at the break. He had to chase behind a wall of horses through the turn. Rider Santo Sanjur tried to split horses down the stretch, only to find that the hole was too small. Yet? Sanjur was able to take Costly King back, swing around Francois’s outside, and run him down for the win anyway. Now in the barn of trainer Larry Rivelli, Costly King notched his thirteenth career victory in 70 starts.


Promising Maiden Winners

Many of the most interesting winners last racing week at Arlington came in the maiden ranks.

In Thursday’s 7th, Memory Bank (Misremembered – Shingwedzi, by With Approval) made his second start, and improved one place on his career debut. Thursday’s race, an open maiden special weight originally carded as a turf mile, was run at a mile and a sixteenth on polytrack due to all the rain through the previous two weeks.  On June 25, the Michael Stidham charge had finished a troubled and promising second in an Illinois-bred maiden special weight on grass behind emphatic winner Blue Sky Kowboy. Despite that effort, he was not sent off the favourite; Confiscate was. However, when Memory Bank and Confiscate locked into a battle, it was Memory Bank who came out best, and edged clear in the final furlong to win by two and a half lengths with Mitchell Murrill in the irons.

Cowgirl Callie, before her June 11 debut.  (Photo: Nicolle Neulist)

Cowgirl Callie, before her June 11 debut. (Photo: Nicolle Neulist)

In the very next race, Illinois-bred juvenile filly Cowgirl Callie (Cowgirl Cal – Fuzzy Kim, by Madraar) made her third lifetime start a winner. Bred nicely on both sides for the synthetic, the Leroy Hellmann trainee chased heavy favourite Her Wild Lifestyle home on debut. Second out, she finished fourth after being hung wide. Thursday, she returned in a five-furlong polytrack dash against open maiden special weight juvenile fillies.  Despite a wide post, she won easily.  Mitchell Murrill sent her to the front, and no one could catch her.  It was Murrill’s third win of the Thursday card; one of Arlington’s top jockeys last year, he returned in mid-July and has found his stride back in Chicago.

Saturday’s 3rd featured another second-time starter figuring it out: Barb n’ Don (Fort Prado – Dancing Das, by Rinka Das). A chasing second behind Mistletoe Miss in Illinois-bred maiden special weight company on debut, the Chris Block trainee returned against open maiden special weight horses. That time, she got the lead. Approaching the stretch, it appeared that the field was catching up. It proved no issue: rider Jose Valdivia found her next gear, and Barb n’ Don held safe to win by a length and a quarter.


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