Fires Enters Pair in Arlington-Washington Futurity
August 21, 2015 12:03pm
Veteran trainer William ‘Jinks’ Fires has shipped up two of his top 2-year-olds for Saturday’s Grade III $100,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington International Racecourse in Discreetness and Will Munnings. Both owned by Dwight Pruett and Paula Barnes’ Xpress Thoroughbreds, the pair each exit debut victories a day apart. Both charges are trained at Fires’ Churchill Downs base and shipped to Arlington this week, hitting the track for the first time on Friday morning.
On Aug. 6 at Arlington, Discreetness – a son of Discreet Cat – was a handy winner when taking a 5½-furlong maiden special weight over the same main track Polytrack surface he will perform in the seven-furlong Futurity. The $105,000 sale purchase overcame a dull break to stalk and pounce with aplomb under veteran jockey E. T. Baird. Said journeyman returns to ride from post two on Saturday.
“He’s doing really good,” Fires said. “Both he and (Will Munnings) are coming in well. (Discreetness) has trained well and he didn’t break too good the other day, so I think he’ll be closer this time. It’s hard to tell which one is better, but I will say that (jockey Jon Court) wanted to ride Will Munnings and these two take turns beating each other in the mornings.
“I bought both at the Ocala sale in March,” Fires continued. “Both have told me when they’re ready to run and I haven’t rushed them. I don’t push them unless they are ready and they’re where they’re at now because that’s where they want to be.”
Will Munnings broke his maiden at 5½ furlongs on the turf at Ellis Park one day later on Aug. 7 under Court in speedy fashion. After dueling, the dark bay colt cleared and held well to win by 1¾ lengths as the 8-5 favorite. The great-grandson of stellar sprint filly Meafara cost $80,000 and may have to invoke some of his third-dam’s early foot in order to gain position from his outside post 13 draw.
“I don’t worry about the outside,” Fires said. “It won’t be too bad going seven-eighths and hopefully he’ll be able to stalk from the outside. It’s hard to say if he’ll handle the poly, but Ellis Park’s grass is pretty much a fast main track.”
The race for top Arlington International Racecourse jockey tightened as 21-year-old first-year journeyman and long-time leader Mitchell Murrill is now only one win ahead of established multiple Grade I-winning 40-year-old rider Jose Valdivia, Jr. Going into Friday’s card, Murrill has 58 victories and 17 mounts between Friday and Sunday, including all eight races on Saturday’s card. Valdivia (57 wins), on the other hand, has 20 mounts during the same period, riding seven of the eight carded races both Friday and Saturday and six Sunday.
Lothenbach Stables’ venerable warrior Mister Marti Gras tops Sunday’s feature at Arlington International Racecourse. A salty affair with a field of six stakes-worthy foes, the 1 1/8-miles event is the third race and first leg of the 20-cent Jackpot Pick 6 (15% takeout).
Already with four races in 2015, 8-year-old Mister Marti Gras is winless so far and will be looking to improve upon two runner-up finishes at Arlington. Last out, in the Grade III $100,000 Hanshin Cup, the son of Belong to Me finished second for the second year in a row in the one-mile event. Stretching out to the same nine-furlong trip over which he annexed the 2011 Grade III Washington Park Handicap, the sizeable charge should be tough to defeat as the 9-5 morning-line favorite from post two with Jose Valdivia, Jr.
Though he has yet to show top form over a synthetic surface, Street Spice comes into Sunday’s feature in solid form. In two starts this year, the son of Street Sense owns a victory in a tough dirt allowance at Fair Grounds and then ran well to finish third last out after a nearly six-month layoff in the $50,000 Prairie Meadows Handicap at its namesake course. The graded stakes-placed bay 5-year-old gelding gets the services of 2013 meet champion rider Manny Esquivel from the rail.
Top owner William Stiritz and trainer Scott Becker send out improving 5-year-old gelding Valiant City from post five under regular rider Chris Emigh. The seven-time-winning (in 19 starts) son of City Zip has been stylish in victory, including a score last out over 1 1/16-miles in allowance company. Third and fifth that day were the stakes-placed duo of Treasury Bill (Julio Felix, post three) and Lahshad (Mitchell Murrill, post four), who both return in this event.
Completing the field is Patricia’s Hope’s stakes-winning Greengrassofyoming, who has not raced since finishing second in allowance company at Gulfstream Park in February. A grass runner taking on the Polytrack, he defeated Calvados that day, who would go on to finish a win-worthy third in July’s Grade III $100,000 Stars and Stripes. Recent Grade I Arlington Million-winning rider Florent Geroux rides from the outside post six.
Neil Pessin trainee Eden Prairie worked a maintenance half-mile in :50 flat for owner Lothenbach Stables. The daughter of Mizzen Mast has not raced since finishing fifth in the Grade I $300,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland in April. Friday’s move was her first since returning from a break.
Richard Otto Stables’ stakes-winning mare Alette continues to look well in the mornings, working a half-mile in :48.60 for trainer Chris Block. Last seen finishing off the board in the Grade III $150,000 Marshua’s River Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid won the $75,000 Illini Princess one race prior over highly regarded turf mare Kepi.
Multiple stakes winner Ground Transport once again was impressive in the morning for trainer Mike Stidham, working a half-mile in a bullet 47.60 for owners West Point Thoroughbreds, St. Elias Stable and Get Grounded Stable. The son of Big Brown was last seen making his 5-year-old debut when last of eight in the Listed $100,000 Schaefer Memorial at Indiana Grand on July 18.
William Stiritz’s sprinting stakes mare Algonquin Posse returned to the tab for the first time since finishing a game third in the $50,000 Isaac Murphy Handicap on Aug. 1, working five furlongs in 1:02 flat for trainer Scott Becker.

Source: Arlington Park


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