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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
The Dark Horse

Top Juveniles Invade Arlington on Saturday

Rich in tradition, the 77th running of both the Arlington-Washington Lassie for 2-year-old fillies and the Arlington-Washington Futurity for 2-year-old colts will be contested on the Arlington Park polytrack at the one-turn distance of one mile.  These races have put some great names on the map such as Cactus Ridge, She Be Wild, and Eliza.  (On a side note, the races got their names in the early 1960’s then the Arlington and Washington Park stakes races of like names were combined.  Both now have Breeders’ Cup designations.)

For this year’s races my spidey senses initially tell me that Essence of Bubbles and Hogy have the best chances to win, but let’s take a deeper look at the fields.

Race 8 – The Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes

#7 – Always Here Too (3-1)

The great thing about 2-year-old races is that not only do you get to see the future of the sport in action, you also get to see how much these athletes can improve each race.  In the case of Always Here Too we saw improvement in the two races she had won.  Tom Amoss dropped her in class last time out at Ellis Park and won easily against a $26,000 maiden allowance field.  Her first experience on polytrack was a 5F workout in 1:00.4 on 9/5/11; but how will she like it under racing conditions?  Let’s see if we get another step up out of her this weekend.  Even though she is stretching out for the first time her pedigree suggests that she should like the distance.

#3 – Essence Of Bubbles (7-2)

This daughter of Essence of Dubai experiences a new jockey and trainer combination for the fourth time in her young career as Larry Rivelli gets Essence Of Bubbles ready for this stakes race.  Rising from the ranks of the lowly maiden claimer at Ellis Park, this horse has impressed in her recent starts, especially the last out at Arlington against N1X company winning by 2 lengths.  She puts her 1-for-1 polytrack record on the line against a bit stiffer competition here and I think she will be able to handle it.  The lack of a published workout scares me a little bit but according to the PP’s she seems to be in good form.  

#6 – Ann Of The Dance (4-1)

Another filly rising from the ashes of the maiden claiming level, Ann Of The Dance with Diego Sanchez aboard run for Jimmy DiVito, now a 32% winner at this Arlington meet.  This horse also impressed in her last by destroying a N1X field around two turns on August 14th.  She obviously loves the polytrack and can handle the surface at any distance.  She definitely figures to contend here.

#4 – Struck It Lucky (9-2)

Tom Proctor and Junior Alvarado team up for Glen Hill Farm with Canadian-bred Struck It Lucky.  She won her one and only race at the $33,000 maiden allowance level going 5 ½ furlongs on August 21.  During her workout two times back she stretched out and ran a relatively slow 1:49 at one mile.  Most horses improve second time out so we’ll see if we get Grade 3 improvement in this race.  

#8 – Dream Pegasus (6-1)

Dream Pegasus makes her second lifetime start, also off of a break, after blasting an Ellis Park maiden allowance field by seven lengths on a sealed track back on July 8th.  Recent workouts at Churchill Downs have been less than impressive but I’m not sure how she’ll take to the synthetic surface.  Anytime you have an aggressive rider like E.T. Baird aboard however you must give the horse a look, especially if you expect some improvement.

Rounding out the field:
#5 – Rocket Twentyone (8-1) also double entered for race 3 that day.
#1 – Venetian Sonata (10-1) finished 4th in a minor stakes at Mountaineer in last.
#2 – Yorona (15-1) graduates from the maiden claiming level.
#9 – Coyote Breeze (30-1) local product still searching for her first win.

My choice:

I’m going with #6 Ann Of The Dance here.  Jimmy DiVito is on fire recently and this filly really seems to like the Arlington surface.  If someone can chase the likely pace setter Essence Of Bubbles my choice should be able to close hard at the end and take the race at the wire.

Race 9 – The Arlington-Washington Futurity Stakes

#14 – Twelve Hundred (3-1)

Yes, that’s right, #14!  Can you believe this very full field for the Futurity?  We start with Jimmy DiVito’s entry, Twelve Hundred.  This colt was much the best in his last minor stakes victory at Prairie Meadows obliterating a very good field by eight lengths!  He comes back to Chicago where he’s been training extremely well!  He should contend here.

#9 – Take Charge Indy (7-2)

This son of A.P. Indy was also impressive in his first and only race, winning a $23,000 maiden allowance by 6 ½ lengths over foe, next out winner and runner in this very race, Ville.  His ever-lengthening work tab has been equally as impressive and on paper he seems ready to run.  

#6 – Shared Property (4-1)

Tom Amoss’ other stakes entry on the day, Shared Property, comes off of a win in his only other race: a $25,000 maiden allowance at Ellis Park on July 30th.  Also in that race was next out winner Motor City who is also running in this stakes race.  This horse has only been on the synthetic once, a workout at Arlington on 9/5/11 where he breezed five furlongs in 1:01.3.  

#11 – Hogy (8-1)

This is a very interesting colt.  OK, so Joel Berndt originally tried the Hogy with turf (ha, ha) and the race was moved to the polytrack and the horse still won by over seven lengths!  Next time out he wins by four lengths at the N1X level and after that he ships to Minnesota and wins a minor stakes!  Hogy is definitely fast but can he stretch out to one mile?  

#3 – No Spin (10-1)

Remember my blog post when I interviewed Tim Ice and he mentioned that he was very stoked about a two-year-old Johannesburg colt?  Yep, it’s No Spin.  This horse is extremely fast and was very much the best in his last race on 8/7/11 where he won the maiden allowance by 5 ½ lengths.  He has improving Beyer speed figures and an amazing work tab.  And I’d also like to point out that the Perez-Ice combo has won 3 of 4 times.  Just sayin’.  

Rounding out the field:
#1 – Squid (15-1) just couldn’t hold off Hogy in last, has never run on synthetics.
#2 – Motor City (15-1) improving juvenile shipping in from Ellis Park.
#4 – Saturday Launch (15-1) turf winner last time out that has been working well.
#7 – Ville (15-1) won maiden allowance in last and faces many foes again.
#5 – Heiko (20-1) still a maiden but improved on the synthetic.
#10 – Danger Storm (30-1) 1-for-10 lifetime as a two-year-old.
#12 – Fairy Cat (30-1) only win at the maiden claiming level.
#13 - Ormond Quay (30-1) still a maiden, outmatched.
#8 – Priceless Shore (50-1) just graduated and seems outmatched here.

My choice:

I really like No Spin here and I hope to catch a price at 10-1.  I watched this horse in person last time out when he won and he was very impressive and had a lot left in the tank after the race ended.  His pedigree says to me that he can handle the distance and I think he can beat the rest of the field here.  Underneath I like Twelve Hundred, Take Charge Indy, and Hogy.

Who do you like in the Lassie?  In the Futurity?



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Older Comments about Top Juveniles Invade Arlington on Saturday...

Can't WAIT for these two! Awesome # of entries too...wow!!! I am especially excited to see No Spin and I do rememember your article about him. Wasn't he the one that didn't have a name yet back then?
I like Ville on a hunch! And Struck It Lucky in the Lassie
Take Charge Indy!! I'm all over him! If he could only play Quarterback for about 3 months, I think he'd be the perfect horse!
Agreed Ramon! These are two very good races. They had a ton of entries for these too!
woohoo 2 more good races
You are not the only one on No Spin!

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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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