2017 Rolling Meadows Stakes Preview

Arlington Park hosts a special Monday card on Labor Day, September 4.  The centerpiece of the day’s action is the Rolling Meadows Stakes, a seven-furlong polytrack test for Illinois-bred sophomore fillies.  Six have passed the entry box to vie for a share of a $65,000 purse. The Rolling Meadows Stakes takes its name from the suburb that hugs the southern and western borders of the racetrack.

The other town near the track lends its name to Saturday’s stakes feature, the Arlington Heights Stakes, which features state-bred sophomore males.  Both the Rolling Meadows Stakes and the Arlington Heights stakes are among seven overnight stakes announced late in August, which enhance the final month of Arlington’s racing schedule.

Morning lines were unavailable at original publish time.  Updated on September 2 to add morning lines.  Updated September 4 to account for the scratches of TANNAH’BLU and SATURDAY’S SONG.

Monday, September 4: Arlington Park

Race 5: Rolling Meadows Stakes, three-year-old fillies, Illinois-bred, seven furlongs on the polytrack, post time 3:37pm CST

BABYBLUESBDANCING established herself as the queen of her Illinois-bred crop last year, and has emphatically continued that reign this year.  Her only poor race this year was over slop at Churchill that she handled poorly.  Otherwise, she has sparkled: a close second against older first off the bench, a runaway score in the Purple Violet against state-bred sophomore fillies this meet, and then twice holding her own in Grade 3 company.  She steps back down from that graded company to state-breds here.  The biggest question surrounding BABYBLUESBDANCING is the size of the field, as short fields can favour speed.  But, with ROYALTY PRINCESS being as inconsistent as she is, and SHEZAHOTMAMA at least possible to send, BABYBLUESBDANCING should be well suited to track just off the pace and run at them into the lane.  Unless someone else in this field takes a serious step forward, this is BABYBLUESBDANCING’s race to lose, and this space would be grasping at straws not to put her on top.

The most intriguing horse in the race is the filly to the far outside, JOLEE.  Both JOLEE’s debut maiden win and her open N1X win last December showed a stalk-and-pounce style that should suit this race well.  She gets a switch to rider Pedro Cotto — interesting, because not only is Cotto riding well as of late, but Cotto had been SHEZAHOTMAMA’s rider through her most recent starts, yet ends up here.  Both the polytrack and the distance are questions, though there are suggestions she could handle both.  JOLEE’s dam Summer Mis found her graded stakes glory going six furlongs, but was able to win at a one-turn mile as well.  And, she has produced four all-weather winners: Empirestrikesagain, Summer Again, Summer’s Empire, and Big Bruin.  JOLEE will need a step forward to contend with the top selection — but, everyone in this field will.  She is still lightly enough raced to have upside, and after the talent she showed in her two wins last year this space is not ready to give up on her quite yet.

Two race-day scratches brought the field size down to four.  In such a small field, it’s worth giving a look to the speed of the speed, particularly when she stands to be the longest shot on the board.  ROYALTY PRINCESS has been consistent to send to the lead — and inconsistent to actually stay there when the real running began.  Last out she found Grade 3 company a bit over her head.  But two back, the daughter of Hat Trick ran a game second against  older open allowance horses in a turf mile.  The horse who caught her that day, Sweetbaby, won right back in her next start.  The cut back in distance should help ROYALTY PRINCESS, as she is likely best sprinting.  Furthermore, these connections have already sweetened the payouts in an Illinois-bred three-year-old filly stake this year — they’re the team behind Countess St Michel, who completed the Purple Violet Stakes exacta behind BABYBLUESBDANCING at north of 50/1.  If the real ROYALTY PRINCESS shows up, she may not stave off BABYBLUESBDANCING, but she has a claim for a piece.

Selections:

#5 BABYBLUESBDANCING (1/2)

#6 JOLEE (5/1)

#2 ROYALTY PRINCESS (15/1)

Longshots:  With this being a six-horse field, the longshot writer strayed elsewhere.  Though, looking at the race just before the Rolling Meadows Stakes…Crafty’s Way is always competitive against maiden special weight company, but her 0-18 lifetime line is a good reason to oppose this lifetime maiden on top.  Sea Diva could wire it, assuming no one gets rank and bothers her like Logi did last out.  But, the longshot writer finds themself intrigued by Moment In the Wind.  A second-time starter, she tries both turf and a route for the first time, and trainer Dale Bennett has been spotting his horses impeccably since returning to the Chicago fold.

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