Saturday’s stakes action at Arlington kicks off on Arlington Million Day with one of the best betting races on the card, the $75,000 Bruce D. Memorial at one-mile on the all-weather main track for three-years-olds. The Bruce D. is the only of Arlington’s five Saturday stakes races on the Polytrack, and it drew a competitive 11-horse field going as Race 8. The Bruce D. is the start of the 50-centall-stakes Late Pick 5 at Arlington, and serves as a juicy undercard affair for handicappers to sink their teeth into.
There are plenty of contenders in this race, but they’re all running for second if Dabo does what he does and runs past ‘em all with his signature “Arazi move” from off the pace. Key Dabo and use the other prime contenders behind him including Can’t Hide From Me, Big Drink of Water, Betwithbothhands, Manny Wah and Lexitonian.
$4 Exacta key 11 / 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 = $20
$1 Trifecta key 11 / 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 / 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 = $20
Here’s a brief look at this year’s Bruce D. Memorial field:
SOVEREIGN IMPACT (#1) (20-1) invades from races out of town at Indiana Grand, Belterra and Churchill Downs which were all run on either turf or dirt. This will be this horse’s Polytrack debut outing, and even more importantly it will be the horse’s first test beyond six furlongs. This horse’s form looks lesser than some of the principals in this field, and if the synthetic track doesn’t prove to be his downfall, the distance of this race likely will be.
DAZZLING TRUTHS (#2) (20-1) has three recent races on synthetic racetracks and none of those efforts seem to suggest he’ll be a contender in this spot against this level of competition. Did finish fourth on synthetic in a small stakes race at Presque Isle Downs three races ago, and then seemed to handle one mile in a dirt race at Prairie Meadows two races ago when running late for third. The maiden win came on this track, but the best career effort came right after that on dirt at Churchill Downs, and if anything it is dirt, not Polytrack, that seems to be this horse’s best surface.
DONNELS DREEK (#3) (20-1) comes out of the maiden win and wastes no time rising straight up into this stakes assignment. Before you count this horse out, it should be noted that he was super impressive in the maiden win which came on this track with a solid BRIS Speed figure in an effort that looks even better now that the runner-up who finished behind him, Gate Crew, came back to break his maiden in fine fashion at Arlington in his next race. The hottest rider in the country the last two weeks, Mitchell Murrell, has the mount.
CAN’T HIDE FROM ME (#4) (7-2) enters this race with a perfect three-for-three record so far, all on a synthetic surface at Presque Isle Downs and all in sprint races. Arrives locally in the barn of Arlington’s perennial leading trainer Larry Rivelli, and attracts Irad Ortiz Jr. for the mount. You can’t argue with perfection, especially when it shows up for the meet’s top trainer, but he’s trying to do something he’s never done before, which is stretch out to one mile, and that could be the one big hurdle that keeps him from achieving his fourth straight win today. Additionally, this will be his first stakes try, and it is doubtful he’s ever seen a rival the likes of Dabo before thus far in his career.
FORLOVEOFCOUNTRY (#5) (15-1) has been placed in several stakes spot on the grass early in his career with no success after a maiden win on the grass way back at Del Mar last summer. Since then his lone victory was on the dirt, and his stakes tries have resulted in fourth-, ninth- and eighth-place finishes.
HERO TIGER (#6) (12-1) is an iron horse who is evidentially trying to set a record now, already making his 18th start of 2019. Often hits the board on Polytrack, and even hit the board last time on turf, but those races were against much much softer competition. Tried stakes types in the Indiana Derby on dirt and was far back. A similar finish is predicted against these.
BIG DRINK OF WATER (#7) (5-2) stretches out beyond seven furlongs for the first time, but won that lone seven-furlong attempt which came last season on this track with a win in the Arlington Washington Futurity. Four-time multiple stakes winner as a two-year-old took an eight-month layoff and came back last time out needing a race in the return from the sidelines. Finished third out of four in a Woodbine stakes, and now returns to his home track ready to roll in the second race off the layoff with Florent Geroux aboard.
BETWITHBOTHHANDS (#8) (15-1) is a horse on a four-race winning streak coming into this race at 15-1 odds on the morning line, so if that sounds good to you then Betwithbothhands is a longshot you should have on your tickets. The last two wins were big open-lengths victories, including last time when the horse went first out for trainer Steve Manley off the claim away from Larry Rivelli. If anything, Betwithbothhands improved in that race, so why not take a shot in this spot two races after this horse got claimed for $12,500. Has a chance to become the “horse of the meet: with a win, and based on his four straight it would be a mistake to count him out.
MANNY WAH (#9) (10-1) comes off a short layoff for trainer Wayne Catalano and while a lot of these horses are optimistically stepping up in class into this spot, this horse is getting some class relief coming out of outings in the Pat Day Mile (G3), the Risen Star (G2) and the Lecomte Stakes (G3). Should find this company more to his liking, and owns a Polytrack maiden win on this course which shows he handles this surface.
LEXITONIAN (#10) (9-2) makes his first ever start on a synthetic racing surface, but look out if he can handle it because this horse can run. Won two of his last three outs in Maryland stakes races including the Chick Lang (G3) at Pimlico and last time out in the Concern at Laurel. Now he has two things to prove. First, can he win at one mile, and second, can he handle the Polytrack. Those are two big question marks, but at least we know this horse has talent and is already a multiple stakes winner.
DABO (#11) (5-1) has been a man among boys every time he has stepped onto the Arlington main track so far in his career, and this true horse for the course should not be beat by the likes of these on this track. A mere mortal elsewhere, Dabo is a monster and a beast here at Arlington. He broke his maiden at first asking at AP with a last-to-first Silky Sullivan move at six furlongs, and then was just as dominant when he returned at Arlington on opening day this year with another off-the-pace victory, that time around two turns with another last-to-first move in a race that was never in doubt. Added an Illinois-bred stakes win last time when he crushed three good rivals in the Springfield with Arlington ace Jose Valdivia aboard. If this race were run elsewhere then Dabo might lose, but at Arlington, based on his three efforts there so far, they shouldn’t beat him.
PHOTO: Dabo (c) Coady Photography/Arlington Park