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HRN Original Blog:
Head Heart & Hooves

Two-Year-Olds Take Center Stage at Arlington

Arlington finish 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

 

As summer comes to an end, juveniles will be the focus of this Saturday's card at Arlington Park. Two-year-old colts and fillies will square off, respectively, in the Arlington Washington Futurity and the Arlington Washington Lassie. While he is the third choice on the morning line, Whyruawesome is the horse that looks to be generating the most conversation. He certainly has a number of factors in his favor: a little-known trainer with a good two-year-old record; a pedigree that suggests that the added furlong will not be a problem; and a flashy, 7 furlong maiden win at first asking over the Arlington Polytrack.

Perhaps the biggest reason to like Whyruawesome, however, is the manner in which he won his only career start. After sitting ten lengths back at the first call, the Whywhywhy gelding made up plenty of ground en route to a ½ length victory. While it is foolish to assume that horses this age have truly developed running styles, there are a number of entries here who have shown early speed. With the exception of Mighty Brown, who will run at Louisiana Downs instead, every other entrant has been first or second out of the gate in at least one race. If even half of the eight other entrants battle for the lead, the race could shape up well for Whyruawesome.

The top two morning-line choices come from big name barns: James DiVito sends out High Roll and Watne Catalano counters with Solitary Ranger. High Roll led every step of the way in his 5 ½ furlong debut, drawing off throughout to win by 3 ¾ lengths. The 3-1 favorite is sure to take action off of such a performance, especially with Cisco Torres aboard. Second choice Solitary Ranger has faced the toughest company, running two seconds at Keeneland. Last out, he was beaten two lengths for second by Wesley Ward's highly-rated No Nay Never. In his career debut, he caught Ward's Pablo Del Monte and also finished second.

One other big name will be present for the Futurity: jockey Mike Smith. He is aboard 5-1 Captain's Affair, an Irish-bred colt making his stateside debut. Another who flashed early speed in his first two outings, Captain's Affair will run sans salix here. From a wagering perspective, the race looks a bit chalky. I am on the Whyruawesome wagon, but Solitary Ranger looms a big threat based on back class and bullets in his two most recent works. Those seeking a price may look to Dale Romans' Cee 'n O, who won his debut easily and has posted some nice works since, or Tom Amoss' Joedini, who was badly beaten last out but showed some talent in his debut.


The Arlington Washington Lassie looks to have a deeper field than the Futurity and I would say a good chance of being run in a faster time. James DiVito once again trains the 3-1 morning line favorite here, Maria Maria, who comes off a solid 7-furlong win here at Arlington. She won that race off a short layoff and comes into the Lassie under similar circumstances. As for Catalano's Battlefield Angel, she was making her career debut in the second-place finish to Maria Maria. She has fun once since then, winning by a neck in another 7-furlong race over the local Polytrack.

The rest of the field is rife with horses who have shown some good times in morning works. Mike Stidham has a pair of entries, led by Istanford, who comes off a 5-length win in her career debut and a 47 4/5 4-furlong work on August 31. Hall of Famer Mike Smith will be aboard, meaning the betting public may cast a closer eye on this one. Gumdrop, the other Stidham horse, was only a neck behind Battlefield Angel last out, but is 10-1 on the morning line and could offer some value.

Bellarada is one of two longshots that pique my interest. After winning her 5 ½ furlong debut at Arlington, she went to Indiana Downs and was not as sharp on the dirt. Accordingly, she is back at Arlington and will be running with salix for the first time in her short career. She comes off a 3-furlong bullet and a 47 2/5 4-furlong work. Look Who's Here, the longest shot on the board at 30-1, comes off a layoff for a low-percentage barn, but she has been very sharp in the mornings, going 4 furlongs in 47 flat and 46 flat in her last two August works before getting a reprieve in her most recent work, clocked in 49 4/5. I will try taking a few shots with double-digit prices here after eating chalk in the Futurity.

 

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Meet Alex Fawell 

Unlike many, I did not grow up with horseracing. My first time at the races was the 2008 Kentucky Derby. I bet on Colonel John. That fall, I had the good fortune to go to England, where I visited Ascot and Kempton. When I returned to the U.S., I was hooked. I started reading handicapping books, studying historic sire lines, watching races and going to Portland Meadows regularly. While the purses there were small, I was able to be close to the action and see firsthand the day-to-day operations of an average American racetrack.

 

Last year I moved home to Chicago. I went to Arlington for the first time this year. In the interim, I have devoted my time to understanding all aspects of horseracing  I hope to provide unique isights on handicapping perspectives and multifaceted analyses on the state of horseracing today. I will strive to write with an open mind and a willingness to learn through the writing process. I will not claim to be an expert, but I will read thoroughly, write carefully, and be honest.

 

To me, the all-time greats are Kelso, John Henry, Round Table and Yeats. Horses I like because they have won me money include Raven's Pass, Alternation, and I'll Have Another. The greatest horse I have even seen live is Zenyatta. I also enjoy the Bears, the Bulls, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, Mexican food, good Bourbon, and old-time music - specifically that played on the 5-string banjo. Thanks for reading!