Arlington Park stakes race analysis 8/16/14

For this post I give you analysis of 7 stakes races on the Arlington Park turf today, highlighted by the Arlington Million. 
For the races without changes, I’ll provide overlay suggestions.

Race 5 is the Hatoof Stakes, 8.5 furlongs, 3YO fillies.
1st: #1 Fonepferesh: Best average winning distance (AWD) from pedigree in field, all from Irish stock. Has run nearly all 7 races lifetime after layoff including today, and has 2 prior wins with this approach. Ran a 78 Brisnet rating 2 races back, then won with a lower rating of 70 last time out, a very good trip at or close to the lead all through for this stalking filly. Also has two wins from an inside post. Bounceback likely. 

 
2nd: #5 VV Goodnight sports best speed rating among those who have already won at the distance, a 4th-place finish 3 races ago in the Edgewood at Churchill, an 89 rating. Before that, won an optional-claim race of 75k. Possible bounce risk for the deep closing threat, with runs of 87, 87, 89 beyond a 74 in the last 4 races. 3 works at AP since last race, 2 pretty fast.
3rd: #2 High Wire Kitten progressed in pace from an 80 in her debut to an 82 2 races later, to an 84 in a 64k stakes race last time out. Possibility of bouncing from that effort tho.

Race 6 is the Straight Line Stakes, 65k race, 1 mile, 3YO.

This race has proven to be very difficult to handicap.
1st: #7 McQ has 2 lifetime starts, never out of 1st or 2nd at any call-point in either race, tho both were sprints. Trainer Patti Miller has had some good success in this position before: Started 2 horses making route debut this year, with 1 win, a 10.10 ROI. Also 3 horses going from 2 sprints to a route, with 1 win, 2 placings total, for return of 6.07.  I’ve rated the colt as fastest overall. Looked great while breaking maiden in last start, wiring the field.  Track bias is favorable to posts 4-7 in turf mile races (18% for meet) and to sprinters (29%).
2nd: Mr. Thunder Boy has Edgar Perez aboard, who has worked with Dale Bennett 11 times last 60 days, earning 6 wins, 8 In the money, for return of 3.49. Forged lifetime best of 85 Bris last time, way above his prior race at 72. He won that race right off layoff, and has taken nearly 3 months off before today as well. The time has been well used, as he had 5 works, all at AP, last one 3rd out of 58.
3rd: #4 Sultry Cat I think is more the ‘now’ horse than others. Both lifetime wins came from a middle post, and comes out of good trip with the least trouble compared to field.
All 3 are overlays compared to morning-line.

Race 7 is the American St.Leger Stakes for 3YO, 1-1/16 miles.

Looks like the race is between 2 horses.
1st: #3 Big Kick had set lifetime best of 96 after layoff racing in Santa Anita, then topped that last time out with a 98 at Santa Anita last time out, in the San Juan Capistrano. Despite fading in the stretch, it was an heroic win for the sprinter going 14 furlongs.   Already proven to win off layoff.   He is the lone speed here and will certainly relish the opportunity.
2nd: #8 Admiral Kitten is the class of the field. Winner of a Grade 3 event in January, and last year’s Secretariat here at Arlington (Grade 1). After posting a 96 in the Turf Classic at Churchill 3 races back, he put up a 91 in the Monmouth Stakes, then dropped to an 82 in the Arlington Handicap last time out, despite an excellent trip for the deep closer.  Last 2 wins are from a middle post.
3rd: #2 Dandino has raced consistently the world over. The 7YO makes his first North American appearance in a year, being the defending champion of this event, a 99 Brisnet rating for that race. Since then, 2 races each in England and Australia. Brisnet doesn’t list deep details of races outside North America. I do see a turf win with a 111 Brisnet, easily the best of the field. That race was at Woodbine in 2012. Trainer Marco Botti scored 2 wins in 2 races entering non-graded stakes events, for a modest return of 2.40.

Now we get to the Graded stakes activity:

8th race is the Secretariat, 1-1/4 miles, Grade 1 3YOs.

1st: #6 Adelaide raced in Ireland and Europe for first 4 starts, then made American debut at Belmont last time out, 2nd place by a neck in the Belmont Derby last month. The 101 Brisnet from this very good trip is the best score for turf and distance of the field.  Running in the middle post again here, which may be more than suitable.
2nd: #7 Divine Oath won the American Derby here last month was 2nd in the Lexington at Keeneland in April. The 91 Brisnet at AP was a bit of a spike up in pace, but still lower than 3 races back right off layoff, and  best of the speed figures on this track among winners here. Florent Giroux (19% wins) and Todd Pletcher (1 win in 2 starts) team up again for this one.

3rd: #1 Global View won the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill 3 races back. Another grandcolt of Sadler’s Wells, and sired by Galileo, 10.4 AWD.  4 works since last running in the Belmont Derby, all at AP. Off of a 95 Brisnet earned in the race at Belmont despite a 7th place finish. It represents a slight new top so his effort today could go in either direction. 
My odds for contenders here: Adelaide 8-5, Divine Oath 4-1, Global View 5-1. #5 Sheldon, 7-1. #4 General Jack and #9 Tourist, 16-1.  Overlays: #5,7.  Explaining the overlay on Sheldon, his last 2 races produced new top of 93 and 96, a strong gain over his best from last year, an 87. Last race was the Belmont Derby, first race other than maiden, finishing 5th despite the pace numbers. 4 works since that race, all at Saratoga, last 2 very fast, 1 a bullet.
 
9th race is the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes, fillies/mares, 3YO+.
1st: #7 La Tia. 5th in this race last year, winner of the Arlington Matron in May and the Ontario Matron at Woodbine last month. She is the true lone speed and should control pace for much of the event. She’s almost always at the front of the field, as evidenced by her body of work for the last 15 months, not finishing lower than 6th. Surpassed lifetime best of 100 with a 102 3 races back in  the Arlington Matron. Also slight move up in pace last race out in the Ontario Matron with a 99. It was an excellent trip for this sprinter, extending her lead all throughout. Middle post will help the 5YO’s chances.
2nd: #8 I’m Already Sexy won 2 Grade 3 events in the last year, the Modesty, and the Pucker Up, both here.  She has Giroux aboard (19% wins) and  the recovering trainer Wayne Catalano (29% wins). 3 works since last here at AP, 2 very fast amidst small samples.  Another who will get help from midde post.
3rd: #5 Stephanie’s Kitten, a multiple Graded Stakes winner herself, including the Just A Game at Belmont (G1). I’ve rated her the fastest overall, but she’s a deep closer, so she must get the right trip for this.  Maybe something resembling her last effort, a 2nd place finish in the Diana at Saratoga last month, without so much trouble in the process.
My odds for contenders: #7 La Tia 6-5. #8 I’m Already Sexy 5-1. #5 Stephanie’s Kitten 8-1. #4 Emollient 10-1. #3 Street Of Gold and #11 Somali Lemonade, 20-1. 
Overlay possibles: 7,8.

10th race is the marquee race, the Arlington Million.  Going horse-by-horse:

#1 Hardest Core has jockey Eriluis Vaz and trainer Edward Graham, both making their initial meet appearance. Both have worked together 3 times in last 60 days, with 3 wins, and  a 5.67 ROI. Also for Graham: 10 horses entered who won their last race with 6 wins, 8 in the money, and 4 wins in 5 in 2014 alone, 3.00 ROI.  Paired up new lifetime tops of 97 last 2 races, this above an 86 before being claimed from Kieran McLaughin. So the new trainer is making a big positive difference already. Also, those two wins came from an inside post,and this gelding gets the rail today.  Morning line: 20-1. I think he’s more like 5-2.
#2 Smoking Sun I have virtually no stats on as his racing was done mainly in France, tho I do see he’s won off layoff previously. But I have no other evidence to support and I’m leaving him out, at my peril. Morning line is 9/2, but I can’t even rank him.
#3 Magician has starred in Ireland and England, and has just one start here in the States, last year’s Breeders Cup Turf. with a great closing victory. Has good inherent chance to win. Another son of Galileo and the 10.4 AWD. The 110 scored in the BC race does impress me, but nothing in terms of form interests me in him, despite the morning-line of 7/5. I say 20-1.
I actually have the next 3 horses ranked close.
#4 Finnegans Wake has a win and a 2nd in 3 races here. His 97 Brisnet way back when is still the best effort on the track of this field along with #6 Real Solution. 4th in the Million last year.  Ryan Moore makes his meet debut here as jockey.  With deep closers, he is 3-for-3 this year, with ROI of 5.97.  Outstanding trip in the Arlington Handicap last time out at 10 furlongs, being 2nd and close for much of the race. Morning line: 12-1. I think he’s 4-1.
#5 Up With The Birds won last year’s Jamaica Handicap (Grade 1) at Belmont. Slight new top achieved last time out with a 100 Brisnet in the Nijinksy at Woodbine.This edged out a 99 score on the same track in 2012 in the Coronation Futurity.  This deep closer I’ve rated fastest of field, and whom must get his trip to deliver the stretch kick.  Morning line: 6-1. My odds: 4-1.
#6, the aforementioned Real Solution was 2nd in last year’s Million, and won the Grade 1 Manhattan at Belmont last time out. Best Brisnet for the 1-1/4 distance of the field, a 109, scored in last year’s Manhattan.  Has worked out a bunch at NY tracks since this year’s Manhattan in June, 2 works very fast, 1 a bullet. Morning line: 5-2. My odds: 4-1.
#7 Side Glance comes out of a long stretch of races worldwide and was 3rd in Monmouth at the United Nations Stakes last time out. 3rd in last year’s Million.  Another horse I can’t get  much evidence on, and one I’ll throw out.
My prediction: 1-4-6. Overlays: 1,4.

Final stakes race is the Hatoof Stakes for fillies, duplicate conditions as the 5th race.
1st: #7 She’s Offlee Good won the Arlington Washington Lassie last year, and only now is return to form with scores of 82 and then 90 in the AP Oaks. Jockey ET Baird has 25% wins, trainer Richard Scherer 16% wins

2nd: #6 Lovely Loyree has back-to-back nose-out wins here in last 2 races. I like her for her middle post wins, and the best trip coming in of this field, a game sprinting effort over 8.5 furlongs and an 82 Brisnet.
3rd: #8 Afsana has good AWD numbers in comparison (Tiznow-Angel Craft, by AP Indy). 2 months on the bench, and already won before off layoff. A ton of works in the meantime, all at AP, generally fast ones at that. Just a 68 last time out, dropping from an 80 and a 72 before that, so a positive correction is what’s hoped for here.
My odds for contenders: #7 She’s Offlee Good 8-1. #6 Lovely Loyree 5-2. #8 Afsana 5-1. #5 Phaniebdancing 8-1. #9 Battlefield Angel 10-1.
Overlays: 6,8,5.      #5 Phaniebdancing I added here because she will likely control much of the early speed, with Lovely Loyree not far behind.

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