2018 Arlington-Washington Futurity and Arlington-Washington Lassie Preview

The stakes portion of this summer’s Arlington meet draws to a close this Saturday afternoon with the Arlington-Washington Futurity and the Arlington-Washington Lassie.  The races, seven-furlong listed polytrack stakes that offer purses of $75,000, are both the only two-year-old stakes on the calendar and the first two-year-old races of the summer meet that are not limited to maidens.

Morning lines were not available at original publish time.  Updated September 6 to add morning lines.

Arlington Park: Saturday, September 8

Race 8: Arlington-Washington Futurity, two-year-olds, seven furlongs on the polytrack, post time 4:42pm CDT

The Arlington-Washington Futurity began its life as the American National Futurity in 1927 and 1928.  Reborn in 1932 and rechristened the Arlington Futurity, its name added the nod to Washington Park in 1962.  A Grade 1 from when races were first assigned grades in 1973 through 1989, it held a Grade 3 designation from 2002 through 2016, then was downgraded to its current listed status.

Run at distances between six furlongs and a mile, it has been run at its current seven-furlong distance since 2014.  Despite its recent downgrade, the history of the Arlington-Washington Futurity is illustrious.  The most recent winner of the Arlington-Washington Futurity to win the race en route to a championship was Gilded Time (1992): already a winner of the Sapling (GII) before coming to Arlington, and winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) in his next start.  Earlier in its history, the race’s winners list is rich with eventual champion juveniles: Honest Pleasure (1975), Silent Screen (1969), Vitriolic (1967), Buckpasser (1965), Ridan (1961), Hasty Road (1953), and Ladysman (1932).

HIDE THE DEMON debuted on Arlington Million day, winning a six-furlong maiden race over the polytrack with front-end tenacity.  Second-leading rider Mitchell Murrill got the leg up that day, and he returns to the reins for the Futurity.  Murrill has done good work for trainer Michael Campbell, accounting for three wins and three more money finishes in nine starts together over the last two months.  HIDE THE DEMON has returned to the worktab twice since that race, suggesting he is actively staying fit and was well-meant for this race, and his pedigree suggests the extra furlong ought to suit.  HIDE THE DEMON showed promise on debut, has the talent to return sharp, and has the guts to take it to BIG DRINK OF WATER up front.

BIG DRINK OF WATER is frustrating at a short price.  He comes out for the right connections — after a five-and-a-half-furlong Tapeta stakes score at Woodbine, leading owner Patricia’s Hope LLC privately purchased him and sent him to leading trainer Larry Rivelli, who will give leading rider Jose Valdivia, Jr. the leg up.  Rivelli had won the Futurity before; two years ago, he captured it with Wellabled.  But, the question remains whether BIG DRINK OF WATER will handle the surface, a tough pill to swallow at such a short price, especially when he won’t be left alone on the lead.  His Tapeta form is solid, but Tapeta form tends to transfer a bit better to turf than polytrack, and his half-sister Cholla (Violence) has shown flashes of form on grass but no liking for the Arlington main this summer.  Maybe that won’t matter.  Maybe those local bullet works will lead to BIG DRINK OF WATER outjumping HIDE THE DEMON by enough to take this gate-to-wire.  But, he’s no lock.

The rail draw isn’t great for DISTANT SHORE, but there is a lot else to like.  The son of Algorithms won on debut in rate-and-rally style, drawing off to win a five-and-a-half-furlong maiden special weight at Indiana Grand on August 14.  He won’t likely be right on the pace, but should be close enough to turn for home in range.  The polytrack is a question, but her sprinter-miler pedigree should be well suited for the trip.  Finally, the connections appeal.  Trainer Tom Amoss has been adept with his shippers to Arlington, with four winners and another two money finishes in just eight starts this meet.  And, rider Jermaine Bridgmohan gets the call — Bridgmohan has taken five calls for Amoss in the last two months, riding home three winners and another money finisher during that time.  They have another live one with DISTANT SHORE.





Longshot:  With several forward types entered in this field, there is some chance of a lively pace in the Arlington-Washington Futurity.  That makes #3 SAYIN GRACE (8/1) interesting.  Polytrack is a question, of course, as his turf maiden win was a better outing.  But, his debut on the Arlington main wasn’t bad — he kept on with interest while chasing home a couple of well-fancied runners in Manny Wah and Bizzee Channel, and five and a half furlongs perhaps proved a little too short.  Perhaps it does turn out that SAYIN GRACE is better on turf, which wouldn’t be a surprise for a Make Music For Me son.  But?  He is the only credible closer in the field, and he keeps Sophie Doyle in the irons.  Doyle is a top-quality rider, particularly of closers.  If things get too hot up front, SAYIN GRACE will come pick up the pieces at a price.

Race 9: Arlington-Washington Lassie, two-year-old fillies, seven furlongs on the polytrack, post time 5:14pm CDT

This year marks the 84th running of the Arlington-Washington Lassie.  First run in 1929 as the Arlington Lassie, the race has been run at distances ranging from five and a half furlongs to a mile, but has only been run at its current seven-furlong distance since 2014.  Though the race merely carries listed status nowadays, it was graded as recently as 2012, and even held a Grade 1 from 1981 through 1989.

As recently as 2009, the race produced a champion: She Be Wild, from the barn of Wayne Catalano.  The daughter of Offlee Wild, who graduated on debut in a maiden claimer at Arlington, won four of her five starts as a two-year-old, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).  She joined thirteen other fillies who won the Lassie on the way to being named the champion of their class: Eliza (1992), It’s In the Air (1978), Dearly Precious (1975), Process Shot (1968), Smart Deb (1962), Leallah (1956), Bewitch (1947), Beaugay (1945), Twilight Tear (1943), Now What (1939), Forever Yours (1935), Mata Hari (1933), and Top Flight (1931).

CRAFT SHOW dazzled on debut.  Despite being bred to be a long-winded older horse (she is by Creative Cause out of Crafty Oak, making her a close relative to MG1W Giant Oak), despite drawing the rail on debut, and despite being ridden by a jockey who rarely sends to the front?  CRAFT SHOW went gate to wire in a five and a half furlong maiden special weight over the polytrack on July 27.  She returns to that footing, and get more distance — something she should love.  She’s no lock — barring an inside speed bias, gate-to-wire may be a difficult way to win this race, as THUNDEROUS GEM, WINNING ENVELOPE, CHROME ATTACK, and GET NONE all got their diplomas on the front end just like CRAFT SHOW.  But, if CRAFT SHOW has a rating gear, leave it to Sophie Doyle to be able to find it.  And, if she gets out of the gate better?  She may just outjump the chasing throngs.  In a closely-matched race, and with out-of-town foes likely to make CRAFT SHOW a fair price on the tote, she gets the nod.

Trainer Chris Block won the Lassie last year, and returns with another live runner in WINNING ENVELOPE.  She proved herself to be a Saturday afternoon horse on Arlington Million day, shooting to the lead in a five-and-a-half-furlong maiden special weight and carrying all the way around.  Since that victory she has been privately purchased by Lothenbach Stables and moved to the barn of Chris Block.  She keeps rider Carlos Marquez — always a good sign, keeping the same rider after a transfer of connections — and adds Lasix for the first time for this outing.  WINNING ENVELOPE has already proven herself on the polytrack footing, and the daughter of More than Ready should have no trouble with the added distance.  The biggest question is pace — she has the same question as CRAFT SHOW, of winning on the front end in a race in which so many have — but any second-start progression makes her a contender.

MEADOW DANCE will likely go off the favourite, and it would be no surprise to see her run to it.  The daughter of Jimmy Creed hasn’t tried polytrack yet, and has only raced once at five furlongs.  But, it should suit.  Dam Meadowbound did her best at six and a half furlongs.  On the sire side, Jimmy Creed babies have been taking to seven furlongs well, and have been versatile enough surface-wise to suggest she can take to the change in footing. MEADOW DANCE also has the right running style for this.  The Brad Cox charge showed the ability to rate and rally, a positive with as many frontrunning types as entered this race.  She also enlists the services of top rider Jose Valdivia — and Valdivia ditches a Rivelli horse he had ridden in both her career starts, GET NONE, to take the call on this better horse.


#2 CRAFT SHOW (10/1)



Longshot: #1 INTO TROUBLE (10/1) is the “B” entrant from the Ben Colebrook barn — unlikely to take as much interest as her more experienced stablemate BEACH GETAWAY — but the aughter of Into Mischief deserves a look.  She does lack the experience of some of her foes, with only a debut maiden win underneath her.  INTO TROUBLE also hasn’t tried the polytrack yet, opening up a surface question, since that unveiling came over the dirt at Ellis.  But, that start did come at seven furlongs — the same distance as the Lassie.  It makes INTO TROUBLE the only runner who has even tried the trip, much less won at it.  It’s also a positive that this filly stalked early, vied, and won — it showed both the rating abilities and the fighting abilities that a horse here would need, given how many frontrunners passed the entry box.


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