by Dustin Fabian
August 12, 2018
There was bad news at Arlington Park on Saturday. I didn’t hit the Late Pick 5. Generally happens when the sequence kicks off with $72 and $78 horses. There just aren’t enough bullets in the chamber for yours truly to find horses like that.
There’s good news, though. Nobody else had the Late Pick 5. Even wins by Sistercharlie ($5.20) and Robert Bruce ($7.20) couldn’t right the ship for Pick 5 players. It happens. Saturday wasn’t our day.
How about Sunday? Saturday’s futility yields a gigantic opportunity – a $375,446 carryover. That’s a huge chunk of dead money just sitting there, waiting to be claimed by handicappers like us. Of course I’m taking a stab. If you’re reading this, maybe you will too. It’s tough to pass up opportunities like this.
One word of caution – Saturday’s winning turf performances all followed a constant theme – sit back, rally wide, pull clear. The turf course wasn’t friendly to speed horses or horses racing near the rail. There’s no guarantee that trend holds Sunday, but it’s worth noting.
But anyway, you’re here for picks and thoughts, so here they are. Let’s get it done.
Race 4 – Maiden Special Weight – 1 Mile (Turf)
The Late Pick 5 kicks off with a race that should put my ‘outside closers’ theory to the test, as #1 GWENDALYN SUE (9/5) is a likely favorite but will employ a forward, inside style. She’s 0-for-5 (with five second-place finished). Someday will be her day, but it’s hard to love a filly who has shown an allergy to winning. If the speed comes back, #3 CLOCHE (9/2) should be closing along with #8 J.A. CURLIN (5/1), who is stuck outside. Check the tote on #6 GOOD GIRL I AM (8/1), who moves to the Mike Stidham barn after a mediocre debut at Gulfstream for Michelle Nihei on July 12. If he takes money, include him on your ticket.
Race 5 – Maiden Special Weight – 6 Furlongs (All Weather)
What a tough leg. I think you need four here. #2 BOLD FRIENDS (5/2) is not the type of horse that I love. He’s a speedster that doesn’t hang around. Plus, he’ll have company from 0-for-20 (forever?) maiden #4 UNBRIDLED RULER (8/1) and he just always finds a way to lose. #7 OUR THOMAS (4/1) and #8 A.P. ROYAL (9/2) are probably my top two. Both are lightly raced and continuing to improve. They’d appreciate a pace to run at, which they should get. #1 NORTHERN FIRE (8/1) is a wild card. He was bet in his debut against state-breds but didn’t do much. He’s been gelded since and Wayne Catalano horses can generally run.
Race 6 - $25K Claiming – 1 Mile (Turf)
#1 QUINN MURPHY (2/1) is a bit surprising to me as the ML favorite. She has a decent shot, but I don’t think she has a 2/1 shot. She’s never raced locally and she’s just 3-for-20 in her career and is extremely pace dependent. You can easily make a case for #4 LADY TEMPLE (5/1) and #5 HIDE AND SECRET (6/1). They both excel in races like this. And I don’t love the idea of tossing #3 DANCING WAVES. She’s an Irish-bred that enters off a win and a claim by Brian Williamson. He’s 4-for-7 at the meet.
Race 7 - $12.5K Claiming – 1 Mile (Turf)
I haven’t done a good job of paring down my ticket, so that has to occur here. Let’s try to get through this leg with just two horses - #1 ON MY TOES (3/1) and #4 AIR TURBULENCE (9/2). The former goes first off the claim for underrated trainer Justin Johns (who has won at 26% with a small stable this year) while ‘TURBULENCE gets a needed class drop after taking on much better horses early in the meet. He’s 2-for-9 at Arlington.
Race 8 – Illinois-bred Allowance – 6 Furlongs (All Weather)
State-bred horses are on display in the nightcap and in races like this I love to identify horses dropping in class from open company to state-bred company. The fields are just much easier and there are fewer good horses to run against. Local experience means a lot too. #3 GAME TIME DECISION (5/2) hasn’t faced IL-breds very often and the only time she has lately, she ran into the insanely fast Puntsville and nobody can run with her early. Problem is, she’s 0-for-2 at Arlington. #8 SPEED DEVIL (9/2) was just OK in her last and you have to wonder if you’d rather have #1 PRAIRIE CHICK (6/1). She always runs well here (15-4-4-2).