Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
A trio of stakes races highlight the Saturday before Memorial Day card at Arlington Park: the Grade 3 Arlington Matron,
the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup, and the Grade 3 Arlington Classic.
Arlington will be celebrating the holiday with Family Day, live
music, and free admission for all active military and veterans. Also
on the docket are solid, competitive stakes fields.
Experienced racemare Hooh Why is the
3/1 morning line favorite in the Arlington Matron. Making her
fifty-second lifetime start, Hooh Why will be going for her
thirteenth win for trainer Michael Reavis, who has hit the board with
five of his ten starters thus far. Hooh Why has run on the turf her
last six starts, but she now returns to the Arlington main track,
where she is 2-2-1 from six starts. Last year, Hooh Why finished
second to Upperline in this event after setting the pace.
Meet-leading rider Emmanuel Esquivel will be aboard.
Three of the entries here come out of
the Grade 3 Doubledogdare at Keeneland: Ice Cream Silence,
Sisterhood, and Lotta Lovin, who finished first, second, and sixth,
respectively. Of these three, it is sixth-place finisher Lotta Lovin
who is the lowest price at 9/2 on the morning line. Trained by Mike
Maker, the four-year-old filly will be making her second start at
Arlington and twentieth of her career, seeking her ninth win. This
will be the fourth graded stakes try for Lotta Lovin and she looks to
improve off of previous off-the-board finishes. Mike smith will get
his first call aboard Lotta Lovin, who has been working quickly as
usual approaching the race.
Doubledogdare Stakes winner Ice Cream
Silence is the lightest-raced entry in the Matron field. She has
four wins and two seconds from eight starts and will be running in
her fourth consecutive graded stakes for George Arnold, who has been
successful in graded stakes and with repeat winners. The
four-year-old Street Sense filly has never run at Arlington, but she
has run twice on synthetic surfaces where she was second in her
career debut and first in the Doubledogdare. She is 6/1 on the
Sisterhood, 8/1 on the morning line,
is the final entry coming out of the Doubledogdare, where she ran
arguably the best race of her career to take second. This will be
her first race at Arlington and second graded stakes attempt.
Trainer Wesley Ward tightened the screws in Sisterhood's latest
six-furlong work, which she completed in 1:13 & 2.
I like Ausus in this race for trainer
Danny Peitz. She comes out of the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley, where as
Peitz noted: “She ran behind four Grade 1 winners. She didn't
disgrace herself.” I agree completely. Centre Court and Daisy
Devine, first and second in the Jenny Wiley, are two very good
horses. Peitz is hoping for more pace for the four-year-old Invasor
filly and he should get it here. Aside from an off race at Churchill
Downs last fall, Ausus has always run well, hitting the board in
seven of eleven lifetime starts. Ausus is also 5: 2-2-0 at Arlington
Park and may be coming into this race in top form. Jimmy Graham gets
the call. Did I mention she is 8/1 on the morning line?
Rounding out the field from inside out
will be Distorted Legacy (5/1, Stall/Gomez), Diva's Diamond (15/1,
Silva/Thornton), Imposing Grace (Catalano/Hill), and Absolute
The Hanshin Cup features a heavy
favorite, Nates Minshaft, who dominated the 2012 New Orleans
Handicap. He has been off since finishing third to Ron the Greek and
Wise Dan in last year's Stephen Foster. Aside from the Alysheba (the
one race in that stretch where I actually bet him...), Nates
Mineshaft put together a very impressive 2012. If he can come off
this long layoff anywhere near that form, he is a very deserving
favorite. However, this will only be his second career start on
synthetics, though trainer Anne Smith says that he is handling the
surface “just fine.” She has decided to enter him here
“to see if, at age six, he still wants to be competitive. We’ll
know more about where he is after the race.” Smith says that they
are looking to try running him on grass in the future if he takes to
3/1 second choice is Mister Marti Gras, a hard-trying six-year-old
gelding who has not finished worse than fifth in the last two years.
Chris Block will saddle Mister Marti Gras for his third Arlington
start. Mister Marti Gras is currently 2: 1-1-0 on the Arlington main
track, having won and placed in the Washington Park Handicap the last
two years. He is very likely to factor here.
rest of the field for the Hanshin Cup includes Seruni (9/2,
Oliver/Smith), All Stormy (15/1, Geier/Desormeaux), Scatman (8/1,
Mott/Rocco), Hattash (30/1, Bettis/Geroux), Hammers Terror (10/1,
Stidham/Graham), Night Party (10/1, Huffman/Sellers),
Patrioticandproud (15/1, Casse/Gomez), and Hogy (8/1, Becker/Emigh).
To me, this race looks chalky.
Arlington Classic caps off Saturday stakes racing at Arlington on the
turf course. American
Turf runner-up Admiral Kitten is the favorite at 3/1, coming off two
second-place finshes in turf routes. Illinois Derby runner-up
Fordubai is the second choice at 9/2. He has experience on the turf,
having broken his maiden over the Hawthorne course. Procurement, the
4/1 third choice, comes out of a trio of listed stakes at Santa Anita
and will attempt to take his improving form Eastward. General
Election, runner-up in the Lexington last time out, rounds out the
top choices at 5/1. Admiral Kitten is a deserving favorite, but I
may get sentimental with Brown Almighty, who I saw break his maiden
at first asking here at Arlington last summer. He is 12/1 on the
out the Arlington Classic field are Gefest (30/1,
Dorochenko/Homeister), Bells Big Bernie (30/1, Mullins/Thornton),
Dorsett (20/1, Stidham/Graham), Yorkshire Icon (15/1, Peitz/Hill),
Whiskey Bravo (20/1, Scherer/Emigh), Bobo (20/1, Gray/Geroux),
Bambazonki (8/1, Block/Perez).
I will be away for the weekend, I may make some plays tomorrow
@HeadHeartHooves. Good luck and happy Memorial Day, Nation!