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HRN Original Blog:
The Dark Horse

Nine to Battle in Saturday’s Chicago Handicap

Nine older fillies and mares square off in this year’s edition of the Chicago Handicap this Saturday at Arlington Park. 3-1 favorite and third place finisher in the Arlington Matron, Ariana D, makes her third start in 2012. With just a little bit of speed to chase in this race, these horses will need to show their class to take home the victory. Let’s review the field for the 2012 “Cap” - run at the special 7 furlong distance on the all-weather track.

The Contenders:

#2 Ariana D (3-1)

This 6 year old mare with both A.P. Indy and Black Tie Affair pedigree definitely has the class to belong in this field. She has graded stakes experience and almost runs exclusively on the Polytrack where she has 8 wins from 26 lifetime starts on that surface. Back on May 26th she fought hard to get third in the Arlington Matron losing to tough competition in Upperline and Hooh Why. The distance also suits her well here too as she has 3 wins from 6 starts at 7 furlongs.  

#4 Honey Chile (7-2)

Honey Chile might offer some early speed here in this race and anything that trainer Wayne Catalano sends out must be given consideration. I just question whether or not she can get the full 7 furlongs though. She is 0 for 5 at this distance and her better races do seem to come at the shorter distances. Still she has been working out very well and even posted a bullet at 5 furlongs on June 26th. Quincy Hamilton gets the mount here and wins at a 27% rate at Arlington when he teams up with the “Cat man.”


Trainer Mike Stidham is having a great meet so far at Arlington in 2012. He and jockey James Graham team up on a classy mare who is breaking into graded stakes company.  The horse’s two most recent starts have been on the synthetic surface where she has placed both times, including as a beaten favorite to Maude S on May 23rd. This might be her time to shine in this spot.  

#7 Maude S (5-1)

This Jim DiVito filly loved the turn back to 7 furlongs in her last race when she destroyed a very tough allowance other than 3 field by 6 lengths on May 23rd. Her recent workout has been outstanding since that race and I think she is ready to make the jump into graded stakes company. She has hit the board in 12 of 16 lifetime starts so I would expect her to be competitive here. DiVito and jockey Jeffrey Sanchez combine to win at a 33% clip together!  

The Others:

#1 Kitty in a Tizzy (4-1) - Good works lately, last win as in June of 2010.
#3 Dontbeshy I’ll Buy (10-1) - Turf horse that can’t seem to get 7F.
#6 Brilliant Future (12-1) - Excellent synthetic record, taking a huge hike in class.  
#8 Hemera (20-1) - Never won on synthetic, Dorochenko has yet to win at AP in 2012
#9 Lunar Mist (12-1) - Has yet to show much in 2012

Expected Pace Scenario:

There’s not a ton of speed in this race. I would expect jockey ET Baird to have Brilliant Future on or near the lead possibly battling with Honey Chile. If they do battle, then the race could setup well for a closer. In my mind that would best suit Ariana D or Maude S.

My Selection:

I think this is a very good field and a competitive race. I think Maude S may have figured out the Polytrack based on her last performance on May 23rd. If she runs like that again then she could definitely win this race. However I think it’s tough to go against Ariana D. here based on class alone. She has faced some stiff competition in the past and I think she is primed and ready to strike here. As a long shot consideration I would also think about Brilliant Future as she could get the lead and not look back.

This will be a very exciting race to watch! Who do you like in the Chicago Handicap?

Stay tuned for exclusive Chicago Dark Horse coverage of this race for Horse Racing Nation!

 

 

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Older Comments about Nine to Battle in Saturday’s Chicago Handicap...

Agreed, Maude S looks good in that spot. I do like Brilliant Future a little with the cutback to a 1-turn race & she's proven over the track.

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 (Whoa - it's me - the DARK HORSE)
 
Greetings and welcome to my "dark" blog!  I have been a fan of horse racing since I was about 12 years old.  Growing up in Minnesota, my dad would take me and my brothers to Canterbury Downs and I would practically beg to go every weekend!!  I made my first "big" score there hitting the win, place, and exacta in the same race at age 14 (pulled in $84 with horses named Railroad Red and Racers Dream!).  I even had a poster in my bedroom of Lost Code winning the 1987 St. Paul Derby!
 
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