Arlington Trip Notes and Horses to Watch (August 8-11)

The following are trip notes for horses who had tough trips the week of August 8-11 at Arlington, and/or who figure to improve in their next races. Add these runners to your horses to watch list, and bet them back next time out if they land in a reasonable spot.

Racing for the week of August 8-11 at Arlington was run under very nice weather conditions, with extremely firm turf due to the lack of rain. Due to the baked rock-hard course, speed horses and front-runners on the turf tended to enjoy an advantage. Many front-runners won or ran on for in-the-money finishes, even at big odds all week long, particularly on Friday and Saturday (Aug. 9-10).

ANDRONIKOS: Needed the lead, but stumbled, veered out and got bumped hard out of the gate and couldn’t get to the front and then packed it in. Try again as a live overlay.

FACE OF VICTORY: Invaded from out of town with good-looking form but got hooked in a four-length-gap battle for the lead. Put away the challenger but just missed holding off the stalkers to settle for third, beaten just a head and a neck.

IN THE CHAMBER: Sent for the lead but got hooked and percolated into a six-length-gap speed duel until tiring due to those efforts. Can shake loose up front.

LIVELY SPELL: Speed horse blew the break and got off to a disastrous start to lose all chance. Toss out the last-place finish and try again.

MYSTERIOUSLY: Godolphin first starter needed a race just like all Eoin Harty trainees, and then he stumbled badly out of the gate and lost all chance. Will be cranked up for second start and just needs a clean start to win.

READY’S MISSION: One of the fastest horses on the grounds never gets bet, in part because of jockey Nick Meza, but this horse won wire-to-wire and will repeat at five furlongs and perhaps 5 1/2 furlongs too.

ROOM TO FINISH: Made a good stretch rally to pass horses behind a slow pace on a speed-favoring firm turf to get up for second. Looks ready to win.

RUN YOUR RACE: Made a run at catching a horse that shook loose up front in the stretch at five furlongs and narrowly came up short in a solid effort. In fine form at present.

SAKONNET: Hit the gate at the break and was squeezed back at the start, but then recovered to outrun 16-1 odds for third and just needs a clean start.

SMOKEY ROW MAC: Pressed the pace and was the only speed horse still around at the finish in a race where closers/stalkers finished 1-3-4-5.


(c) Coady Photography

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How to Bet Saturday’s Secretariat Stakes at Arlington

The Secretariat Stakes (G1) will be the first of Arlington’s three Grade 1 races run on the loaded Saturday, August 10 Arlington Million Day card. The Secretariat for three-year-olds has been shortened this year and will be run at one mile with a purse of $500,000. The race drew a nine-horse field this year and unlike the Arlington Million (G1) and Beverly D. Stakes (G1) which will both feature heavy favorites, the Secretariat looks like a wide-open field that is up for grabs. Any of the nine horses could win. The good-sized field and lack of a single standout favorite will make the Secretariat an excellent betting race.


The Secretariat is such a wide-open race that you easily could find yourself hitting the all-button in your multi-race wagers, especially if you plan on singling in other legs of the Pick 5, Pick 4 and Pick 3 in the Beverly D. and Secretariat. If you are not so inclined to use “all” in this race, then Chad Brown seems like a logical place to start narrowing down the field with Fog of War looking like the real deal, and his Valid Point keeping Javier Castellano aboard. Of the two foreign Aidan O’Brien options, Never No More seems to have the most upside. The final horse to use in your exotics would be longshot Clint Maroon, because it is still far too early to give up on that horse based on excuses in the recent losses.


$2 Exacta Box 1, 3, 6, 7 = $24
$1 Trifecta Box 1, 3, 6, 7 = $24

Here’s a brief look at this year’s Secretariat field:

CLINT MAROON (#1) (20-1) may be the forgotten contender in the race at 20-1 on the morning-line, and has enough tactical speed to be in the thick of the race throughout for new trainer Wayne Catalano. Was riding high on a three-race winning streak earlier this year and the bandwagon has been prematurely abandoned after two straight losses, both times with excuses. Tired at 1 1/8 miles two races ago in the Pennine Ridge Stakes (G3) and then got off to a bad start last time which prevented him from flashing any early speed en route to a loss in the Manilla. Now gets back to one mile, which is probably his best distance, and just needs a clean trip to be speed from the rail with a definite upset chance.

VAN BEETHOVEN (#2) (8-1) has been keeping good company coming out of three straight European Grade 1 races, but was not competitive in any of those spots and now will try his fourth different country in four races for trainer Aidan O’Brien. Form perhaps has tailed off this year, or else he’s just plain not suited for this class level. Very firm turf is expected Saturday, and it’s unclear if that’s what he prefers.

NEVER NO MORE (#3) (6-1) is the more lightly-raced but up-and-coming Aidan O’Brien entrant in this race, and has looked good on the track since arriving at Arlington. Comes out of back-to-back wins and wins in three of his last four, all in Ireland and adds first-time Lasix for this U.S. debut. Never been in this tough and gets the class test here, but O’Brien sees enough in this colt to ship him across the pond and puts go-to rider Ryan Moore aboard. Guy feeling says it would an extreme mistake to overlook and/or underestimate this guy. Should be stalking the pace from midpack and based on his running style he may even improve with the stretch to this one-mile distance.

THE LAST ZIP (#4) (6-1) nearly made the successful leap from maiden winner to stakes winner last time out when finishing in a dead-heat for second in a three-way win photo in the local prep race the American Derby (G3). Had actually run faster figures in the Belmont maiden win at one mile two races ago, so we’ll see if the slight cutback in distance moves him up. Nevertheless, this assignment will be considerably tougher than in the prep race last time, and he had every chance in the stretch to get the job done last time and didn’t.

RY’S THE GUY (#5) (15-1) had been knocking around the maiden ranks for several tries until finally graduating in the slop at Churchill Downs two races ago, but then looked like a completely new horse last time out when switching surfaces to the turf for the first time and easily beating Churchill allowance horses in a grass mile with a speed figure that is amongst the highest among this field. Quickly makes the jump not only up into a stakes, but into a Grade 1 stakes race today, but this horse appears to be coming around quickly now and three-year-olds that suddenly start getting good at this time of the year are always dangerous, at least for the exotics.

FOG OF WAR (#6) (3-1) invades from New York for trainer Chad Brown and actually ran his best race in defeat last time out when second d in Belmont’s Manilla Stakes behind the tour-de-force career turf debut victory performance of Win Win Win that day. This horse finished second, a head ahead of third-place finisher Casa Creed, who came back to win the Hall of Fame stakes (G2) at Saratoga in his next outing. Irad Ortiz picks up the mount. You’ve gotta like how the improvement last time out seemed to coincide with the addition of first-time blinkers, which apparently moved this horse up several notches. Tough to go against anything Chad Brown sends out in these races, and this horse certainly is among the ones to beat.

VALID POINT (#7) (5-1) also goes out for all-world trainer Chad Brown, which adds to the appeal, as it does with Fog of War. Jockey Javier Castellano had been riding both Chad Brown horses in their prior races, and he evidently chooses to stay aboard this horse while Ortiz goes to the stablemate. Valid Point has started his career in style with two wins in two races, both times as the well-bet favorite. Untried and untested so far against stakes competition, but it would be no surprise if this horse is bound to win a stakes, today and/or in the future.

FARAWAY KITTEN (#8) (9-2) is a winner of two stakes in a row for Mike Maker, including the $200k Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury and the local prep for this in the American Derby (G3) at Arlington. He was available for a $50k claiming tag as recently as four races ago, and now he’s a multiple stakes winner with a realistic shot in a Grade 1. Beat some of these contenders in a close finish last time when up late in the American Derby, and has been able to close in time to win at a mile despite a tough trip when blocked against some solid horses. John Velazquez sees enough to pick up the mount.

CRAFTY DADDY (#9) (5-1) is another of the horses in here that were involved in the close three-way finish in the American Derby (G3) when dead heating with The Last Zip just a neck behind Faraway Kitten. The loss in the American Derby ended his three-race winning streak including races at Fair Grounds, Keeneland, and Churchill, but it didn’t end his stretch of good efforts because he just missed. Draws outside again (post 9 today, post 10 last time), but is one of several in this race with a legit chance.

PHOTO: Fog of War (c) WEG/Michael Burns Photography

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Arlington Park’s Late Pick 4 on Arlington Million Day

The 50-cent Late Pick 4 kicks off in Race 9 at Arlington Park in the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) for fillies and mares going 1 3/16 miles.

FLEETING (#1) (5-2) is a three-year-old taking on older rivals for the first time. She has been in against the best in Europe for Aidan O’Brien and other than her seasonal debut going a mile, she has run three straight strong races against high-caliber competition. Daughter of Zoffany draws the rail and gets in with 117 pounds and Ryan Moore. A ground-saving trip and first-time Lasix should put her right in the mix here.

SISTERCHARLIE (#7) (8-5) has won four straight Grade 1s, including her seasonal debut at Saratoga four weeks ago where it looked like she might have been vulnerable. Irish-bred closes relentlessly in her races and the wide, sweeping turns of the course that will be used today will be to her benefit. She got up in time here last year off the same pattern and will be tough again today.

AWESOMETANK (#2) (8-1) is a British shipper from William Haggas, who is as good a big-race trainer as there is over there. This is a move up in class for her but she has plenty of speed and should get a trip from the inside. Florent Geroux picks up the mount.


Fleeting (#1)
Sistercharlie (#7)
Awesometank (#2)

$10 exacta wheel
1 with 2, 7
$.50 Pick 4: 1, 2, 7 with 3, 4, 6, 7 with 1, 2, 3, 10 with 4, 9, 10, 11

Race 10 is the Secretariat Stakes (G1) for three-year-olds going one mile on the turf. Aidan O’Brien sent far better horses here for half the money than he did to the $1 million Saratoga Derby.

NEVER NO MORE (#3) (6-1) began this year with two sharp wins, including one over Madhmoon who came back to run second in the Epsom Derby (G1). He’s been off for 126 days after missing the classics season and shows up here with Ryan Moore. Son of No Nay Never drops eight pounds off his last win.

VALID POINT (#7) (5-1) is a son of Scat Daddy who won his career debut going this distance at Gulfstream Park then came back four months later to win at Belmont Park in very fast time. He moves up in class for Chad Brown and gets Javier Castellano back aboard.

FOG OF WAR (#6) (3-1) won a Grade 1 last September going this distance at Woodbine then returned at Belmont Park going seven furlongs where he weakened late when sitting behind a slow pace. He came back in a stakes race there and just missed when Lasix was added and should appreciate firm ground today.

THE LAST ZIP (#4) (6-1) broke his maiden two starts back then shipped here and just missed in the American Derby (G3). He took his time figuring the game out but at least he still has some upside.


Never No More (#3)
Valid Point (#7)
Fog of War (#6)
The Last Zip (#4)

$30 Win #3
$10 exacta wheel 4, 6, 7 with 3

Race 11 is the 37th running of the Arlington Million (G1) for three-year-olds and upward going 1 1/4 miles on the turf.

BRICKS AND MORTAR (#3) (8-5) has been a monster since returning from a long layoff due to surgery. He has won his last five starts and three of them were Grade 1. At equal weights and post three, he is the strongest of this group and his fast and steady workouts on the turf at Saratoga should have him ready for Chad Brown to win another Million.

ROBERT BRUCE (#1) (7-2) is the defending champion after winning this last year with a late surge. He hasn’t won a race since then but his second-place finish in the Manhattan Handicap (G1) behind Bricks and Mortar shows he is back at his favorite distance. Javier Castellano can save ground from the rail until the stretch.

MAGIC WAND (#2) (5-1) is a four-year-old filly who ran well in a Group 1 two starts back in Ireland. Throw out her last on soft ground in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (G1) at Ascot and she has run well in her three starts in America.

BANDUA (#10) (6-1) has a win over the course in very good time and can get a piece of this with a repeat of that effort.


Bricks and Mortar (#3)
Robert Bruce (#1)
Magic Wand (#2)
Bandua (#10)

$10 exacta wheel
3 with 1, 2, 10

Finally, Race 12 is the Pucker Up Stakes (G3) for three-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

INDIGO GIN (#4) (6-1) beat allowance foes here two starts back going gate to wire then came back and did it again in the Hatoof Stakes which is the prep for this. Her liking this course and tactical speed should help her get a trip and could be tough to run down.

WINTER SUNSET (#9) (7-2) was only beaten a length in the Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs by Concrete Rose, who only turned out to be the dominant sophomore filly turfer and would be odds-on in here. Winter Sunset came back to run third after an awkward start in the Edgewood Stakes (G3) but improved last out with a good second in the Regret Stakes (G3) when she stalked a slow pace.

CAFÉ AMERICANO (#11) (3-1) won her first two career starts on the turf then came back and raced evenly going 10 furlongs when forced wide at a crucial point. She has to overcome a wide draw here so Irad Ortiz Jr. will have to use her some going into the first turn.

ART OF ALMOST (#10) (5-1) broke her maiden on the Tapeta at Woodbine in her sixth career start and then beat allowance foes on the turf by 4 1/2 lengths. She was a good third there last out in the grassy Dance Smartly Stakes (G2) but she will have to used hard going into the first turn instead of settling like she likes to.


Indigo Gin (#4)
Winter Sunset (#9)
Café Americano (#11)
Art of Almost (#10)

20 Win

$20 exacta wheel
9, 10, 11 with 4

PHOTO: Sistercharlie (c) Coady Photography/Arlington Park

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Swinging at the Early Pick 4 on Arlington Million Day

A trio of Grade-1 races led by the 37th running of the $1 million Arlington Million (G1) will headline the action at Arlington Park on Saturday. The monstrous day of racing features numerous betting options throughout the card, and I will take a crack at starting the day off with a score.

The early Pick-4 features a trio of maiden contests, with two for the youngsters, and I like the sequence a lot. While it may not yield a life-changing return, there is potential for value while keeping the ticket at a reasonable cost.

Race 1

Juveniles fillies will sprint 5 1/2 furlongs on the main oval in the opener. The Larry Rivelli-trained JOSEPHINE BAKER (#3) (9-5) makes a second lifetime showing and will run on Lasix for the initial time. Malibu Moon filly showed big early foot on debut before fading but improvement is expected from the top juvenile barn on the grounds.

I will also use CONTENDRESS (#7) (9-2) from the Brendan Walsh barn. Competitive Edge filly shows a pair of dirt races at the level, and she will add blinkers while trying the all-weather for the first time.

Race 2

Two-year-old boys will get their turn in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint on the Polytrack. I lack conviction with any particular entrant and will spread with the debuters who intrigue me.

JURISDICTION (#3) (5-1), LINFIELD (#4) (9-2) and NICELY NICELY (#8) (7-2) makes the ticket.

Race 3

Maiden special weight affair for fillies and mares on the lawn attracted eight. OUR BAY B RUTH (#2) (8-5) looks very tough for conditioner Eddie Kenneally. Candy Ride filly was a fine runner-up from the 10 post in a similar spot at Churchill Downs most recently, and the well-bred lass seems poised to graduate today.

I will also use GENTLE TOUCH (#4) (8-1) at a nice price. Larry Rivelli trainee was a positive third on debut before faltering most recently, and the Kitten’s Joy filly tries the lawn for the initial time. Sophomore has five turf-winning siblings and gets top pilot Jose Valdivia Jr.

Race 4

Allowance/optional claiming run on the lawn will close out the sequence and could deliver a price to end it. I could make a decent case for the longest shot on the board, BLUE SKY KOWBOY (#7) (20-1), who loves the Arlington turf course. So with that said I will hit the ‘all’ button in the competitive field.


$.50-cent Pick 4: 3,7 with 3,4,8 with 2,4 with all = $48

Happy Million Day!

PHOTO: Arlington Park (c) Coady Photography/Arlington Park

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Exacta Bet of the Day for Saturday, August 10 at Arlington

Exacta Box of the day for Arlington

This Saturday at Arlington is the biggest day of the meet – Arlington Million Day.

Million Day at Arlington features a 12-race card headlined by a trio of Grade 1 grass stakes – the Arlington Million, Beverly D. and Secretariat – as well as two other stakes and a slew of big fields throughout the day. The Arlington Million is run at 1 1/4 miles and goes as Race 11.

Many races throughout the day offer excellent opportunities for multi-horse exacta bets, plus plays in the other exotics. Perhaps the best of the exotics races of the day will be the big one, the Arlington Million, which will feature a 10-horse field topped by the defending champion Robert Bruce, perhaps the country’s top turf horse, Bricks and Mortar.

Here are four horses to use in all of your Arlington Million exotics.

Arlington Race 11 Arlington Million Exotics Picks:

ROBERT BRUCE (#1) (7-2) is the defending Arlington Million champion after topping a softer bunch last year, but nevertheless turning in a career-best effort in the process. Obviously loved this course and seems clearly at his best at the Arlington Million’s 1 1/4-mile distance. Comes in attempting to become the first horse in history to win back-to-back Millions, and catches another break in terms of the course conditions, which will be extremely firm just the way he likes it. Javier Castellano picks up the mount for the country’s leading turf trainer, Chad Brown, who also will saddle favored Bricks and Mortar.

BRICKS AND MORTAR (#3) (8-5) will be the big favorite and horse to beat in the Arlington Million for trainer Chad Brown. Bricks and Mortar has blossomed into the country’s top turf horse in his five-year-old season so far, rattling off four consecutive Grade 1 or Grade 2 victories in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) at Gulfstream, Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2) at Fair Grounds, Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill and Manhattan (G1) at Belmont. Owns graded wins on five different courses so he clearly takes his track with him, and also wins on any kind of footing from yielding to good to firm. Doesn’t win by big flashy margins, but reliably gets the job done, and this 1 1/4-mile distance looks squarely in his wheelhouse with regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard.

INTELLOGENT (#9) (12-1) is a 12-1 Euro invader on the morning line who can really bump up the value of your Arlington Million exotics. Euro horses in this race trained by Aidan O’Brien (Magic Wand and Hunting Horn) may attract more attention, but Intellogent ships into this race looking for firm turf and gets his wish with rock-hard course conditions currently prevailing at Arlington. Firm turf is right up his alley based on his Grade 1 win last summer in the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville. Finished less than two lengths behind prominent turfer Zabeel Prince last out in a Longchamp Group 1, and this horse should not be overlooked despite the fact that he is likely to be.

BANDUA (#10) (6-1) won the local prep for the Million last month in the Arlington Handicap (G3) against a much softer field. It was not who he beat, but rather, how he beat them that mattered the most. Bandua served notice he is ready to take the leap up into Grade 1 company when he won the Arlington Handicap in course record time of 1:53 for the 1 3/16 miles on this surface. Also ran third here last year as a three-year-old in the Secretariat, and should once again land in the trifectas again today. Has the speed to be on or close to the lead, and may get away with a moderate pace.


Box the above four horses in the exotics, and key Bricks and Mortar in the exactas, you will be covering the speed (Bandua), the defending champion (Robert Bruce), the favorite (Bricks and Mortar) and the live longshot who should have an affinity for the rock-hard turf course conditions currently prevailing at Arlington (Intellogent). You will have the makings of a winning exacta, plus a big chance at the trifecta and superfecta. Best of luck!

$5 Exacta key 3 / 1, 9, 10  = $15
$1 Trifecta box 1, 3, 9, 10 = $24
10-cent Superfecta box 1, 3, 9, 10 = $2.40

PHOTO: Robert Bruce (c) Coady Photography/Arlington Park

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A longshot to consider on the Arlington Million undercard

Saturday’s $150,000 guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 5 at Arlington includes all four graded turf stakes, but the sequence starts with $75,000 Bruce D. Memorial for three-year-olds at one mile on Polytrack.

While the main features have the potential of producing all short-priced winners, the Bruce D. Memorial (Race 8) might be the best chance to catch a longer price if you’re playing various horizontal wagers. #5 FORLOVEOFCOUNTRY, who is 15-1 on the morning line, could turn out to be that longer price.

Despite this particular horse’s two dull tries off layoffs, trainer Jim DiVito is typically solid with horses coming back from long spells and with those shedding blinkers. Both apply in the case of this colt, and have generated positive ROIs according to Brisnet stats. He’s also won over a one-turn mile, at Churchill.

The son of Sky Mesa has won on both turf and slop, often an indicator of handling a synthetic surface, and has turned in some solid works over this track dating back to May. Though ineffective in two of his three prior stakes tries, he did rally for fourth after a slow start in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf last fall.

There are obstacles for Forloveofcountry to overcome in the Bruce D. Memorial, but they don’t seem insurmountable and the price will be right to take a shot. I’ll be using him in my multi-race exotics plans and will also bet him to Win.

As far as the Arlington Million (G1) is concerned, be sure to check out the video preview with myself and James Scully, where each of us has a suggested wager.

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Arlington Trip Notes and Horses to Watch (August 1-4)

The following are trip notes for horses who had tough trips the week of August 1-4 at Arlington Park, and/or who figure to improve in their next races. Add these runners to your horses to watch list, and bet them back next time out if they land in a reasonable spot.

Racing for the week of August 1-4 at Arlington was run under very nice weather conditions, with firm turf. Without any rain, storms, or changing weather occurrences, the main track played fair throughout the week/weekend.

The horses listed below exit races run at Arlington during the week of August 1-4, and all of them have good chances to run well, outrun their odds, and/or win in their subsequent starts.

Arlington Trip Notes (August 1-4)

ANDREAS: Had to come from last in a tough 12-horse race after a rough start, but was the only closer in the race to make a dent to close late for fourth. Worth another try.

BRENTLEY’S DREAM: Had to close from last in a five-furlong race without much pace in first race back from an eight-month layoff and surged late to almost make it in time. Lost by a head on the wire and shouldn’t be denied in next.

BRILLIANT ONE: Improved a bunch to be competitive vs. maiden claimers at a mile on the turf after getting a bad start and getting pinched back in traffic in the early going.

FIFTYSHADESOFGRAYCE: Three-time turf sprint front-running winner got off to a slow start and then couldn’t make the lead to lose best chance. Can rebound with a good start.

GRAY OWL: Broke awkwardly when wanting to show speed, then had to be hustled to battle up front and gamely held on to the wire for a near miss third-place finish. Can go all the way with a better break.

IMPRESSED: Maiden lost to a good one, but ran a solid effort in his own right to be second, nearly five lengths clear of third. His turn to graduate next time.

KARATE HOTTIE: Came from off a slow pace to win anyway despite a troubled trip. Scored only by a neck, but was five ahead of third and was much the best and is ready to repeat up at the next level.

LAUNCH AWAY: Was by far the best but settled for third, second via DQ, after getting checked hard with no room to go between horses in mid-stretch. Just needs a clean trip.

MILK CHOCOLATE: Turf sprint invader ran well to close for second but had no chance to catch a loose lone speed runaway Larry Rivelli speedster. Just needs pace to chase.

THOUGHTLESS: Got off to a bad start when she landed in a very tough turf sprint spot at five-furlong. Needs a return to the main track for an instant rebound.

WICKED VALENTINE: Turf routing first starter two-year-old ran big for Michael Stidham for second, and Stidham usually doesn’t usually crank up his maidens until their second start. Won’t remain a maiden for long.

PHOTO: Arlington Park (c) Coady Photography/Arlington Park

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Arlington Trip Notes and Horses to Watch (July 25-28)

The following are trip notes for horses who had tough trips the week of July 25-28 at Arlington Park, and/or who figure to improve in their next races. Add these runners to your horses to watch list, and bet them back next time out if they land in a reasonable spot.

Racing for the week of July 25-28 at Arlington was run under mostly very nice weather conditions, with firm turf. Without any rain, storms, or major weather occurrences, the main track played fair throughout the week/weekend.

The horses listed below exit races run at Arlington during the week of July 25-28, and all of them have good chances to run well, outrun their odds, and/or win in their subsequent starts.

Arlington Trip Notes (July 25-28)

CONSULTATION: Got a rough start when wanting to show better speed, then had to rush up to challenge for the lead and had no answer late due to the earlier efforts.

COOLER SCHEDULE: Broke slowly and trailed early behind a slow pace, then launched a bid but ran into traffic in the stretch and finished fifth. Too early to give up.

COUNTRY ASSETS: Winner from Fairmount invaded for a high-percentage low profile trainer and proceeded to get pinched back to last at the break to lose best chance. Ran a solid recovery for third and deserves another shot.

EXTRA MEDIUM: Didn’t get much pace to run at but was the only off-the-pace horse in the race to make a dent from behind for second behind a runaway winning 6-5 shot. Ready to graduate.

HERE COMES KYLE: Got hooked in a four-way, then three-way, four-length-gap battle for the lead and finished best of the speeds for third in a race that set up for the two closers. Try again.

HIDE AND STREET: Chased a runaway blazing speed odds-on favorite monster and closed best for second. Should land in a better spot and win next.

MISTER MAESTRO: Arlington main track horse for the course (four wins and a second in six outs) was unlucky to run into speedball Nuclear Option, couldn’t get the lead, and faded to fourth. Too early to give up.

MOON OVER CABO: Runs well in local turf sprints and returned from a 10-month layoff with a solid third-place finish, beaten a length. Looks good in second off layoff.

WAR DIAMOND: Closed and came up just a half-length short at five furlongs in first race back from a 4 1/2-month layoff. Needed the race and will be tougher in second off the layoff, perhaps at 5 1/2 furlongs.

WISHING BELLE: Maiden closed from near the rear of the field and was bothered late but still secured second. Sitting on the maiden win now.

PHOTO: Arlington Park (c) Coady Photography/Arlington Park

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Arlington’s Spot Plays for Saturday, July 20

A pair of stakes events for Illinois-bred runners are the centerpiece of a nine-race card at Arlington Park on Saturday. I have a handful of horses of interest to me that are worth including in your wagers.

Race 4

OMAR ATTACK (#1) (3-1) finished a solid third in a swiftly run claiming event most recently and seems poised for a big run in a winnable race. James Childers trainee has early foot in a field full of closing types, and I think jockey Javier Tavares will send him from the break to lead the field at every call.

Race 5

Ingrid Mason’s MIDNIGHT BLUE NOTE (#1) (5-2) went last-to-first in the stretch to beat similar on the course most recently. Midnight Lute gelding is the lone runner in the field with a win at Arlington, and he appears to be a standout to me while breaking from the rail.

Race 6

A baker’s dozen will travel nine furlongs on the green in this $12,500 claiming race. COLONEL FRED (#9) (6-1) has early foot in a field with little pace, and he also could peak making his third run of 2019. Four-year-old gelding is a winner on this lawn and had a nice prep for today when a rallying fifth following a poor break on a yielding course. Carlos Marquez Jr. inherits the mount.

Race 7 – Mike Spellman Memorial Handicap

A field of 10 will travel 1 1/16 miles on the lawn in this black-type event. With the horse to beat parked widest of all in the field, I will take a shot for some value in the race with GAME TIME DECISION (#5) (6-1). Trained by Chris Hartman, the daughter of good turf sire Put it Back will go sprint-to-route and synthetic-to-turf in a field lacking depth. I really liked the closing effort the mare showed in her most recent grassy assignment.

Race 8 – Black Tie Affair Handicap

Four-time local winner CHRISTIAN C (#5) (5-1) fell a neck shy when second in his 2019 return. Wayne Catalano pupil is the defending champ in the cast and sports a solid 10-4-3-1 mark on this turf. Top local pilot Jose Valdivia Jr. will be in the stirrups and putting the contender in the hunt from the start.

PHOTO: Arlington Park (c) Coady Photography/Arlington Park

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Arlington Trip Notes and Horses to Watch (July 11-14)

The following are trip notes for horses who had tough trips the week of July 11-14 at Arlington Park, and/or who figure to improve in their next races. Add these horses to your horses to watch list, and bet them back next time out if they land in a reasonable spot.

Racing for the week of July 11-14 at Arlington was run under mostly warm and clear conditions, and a firm surface prevailed on the turf.

The horses listed below exit races run at Arlington during the week of July 11-14, and all of them have good chances to run well, outrun their odds, and/or win in their subsequent starts.

Arlington Trip Notes (July 11-14)

ARROWSPHERE: Handled the local surface but got no help up on the pace when chasing a wire-to-wire winner getting away with murder up front. Fits well vs. the local competition.

BOURBON TAN: Toss out the disastrous last-place finish, breaking slowly in a race with no pace and then being asked to rush up and press the pace despite lacking any natural early speed. Live at a big price but needs pace to chase.

DON’TASK DON’TTELL: Suffered an unlucky loss in a race he should have won if not for bothered early in the stretch run and nearly sent through the rail. Came back strong to miss by a head and just needs a clean trip.

GATE CREW: First-time starter showed speed to press and then set the pace and lost to a good-looking stalking winner to finish a clear second. Looks good next time.

KING SNAKE: First-time starter took money both early and late and came out running, fending off separate challengers up on the pace en route to a tough-luck nose loss thanks to the rider thinking he had it won and stopping riding instead of finishing strong. Too good to remain a maiden any longer.

LAVINA: Raced along with the eventual winner but while that horse got through cleanly, this horse waited in traffic in upper stretch before getting clear and moving strongly up the rail to just miss. Worth another chance.

LETHEBIGSHOT ROLL: Was inexplicably bet down to 5-2 in a five-furlong turf sprint prep race off a five-month layoff. Got a race under his belt and ready to win on the stretch out.

LIZZ A BEE: Late surge nearly got her there but she settled for second by a head in a tough maiden spot. Ready to graduate.

MOM’S RED LIPSTICK: First-time starter broke slowly to be last early in five-furlong career debut, but recovered to destroy the field anyway as much the best. Should repeat wherever she can find a spot.

READY’S MISSION: Blasted clear on the lead in a race overloaded with blazing speed and lead until getting nipped by a neck and a head at the wire. Ready to go wire-to-wire back at current level.

RICHIESONARAMPAGE: Veered in at the break when not handling the rail post draw, then played catch up and actually ran a solid effort for third beaten a tad over a length. Just needs to get off the rail to rebound.

TAK: Evidently could not handle the turf whatsoever, but has talent and will rebound in a big way when back on the Polytrack.

PHOTO: Arlington Park (c) Coady Photography/Arlington Park

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