A pair of turf miles will close out the stakes season at Arlington Park this weekend.
Well traveled Notte D’Oro, a favorite around the offices here, heads into the $50,000 Melanie Frances Stakes for fillies and mare.
The Twin Creeks Farm home bred is returning from a summer at the shore, competing in a pair of Del Mar stakes after finishing 2nd in the Lady Canterbury Stakes. She’ll come from off the pace but Jose Valdiva Jr. needs to make sure that she’s not too far back. The issue that she’s had this season since her Krantz Memorial win at the Fairgrounds in January is not being able to get up in time for a win. She was in fine form heading into the HBPA Distaff and the Lady Canterbury, both at Canterbury Park, but had to settle for second in both efforts.
Lightly raced Eden Prairie could get a perfect trip behind Puntsville or, if the pace is too pedestrian, Jerome Lermyte could choose to move her to the front. Her only clunker this season was her last but should be forgiven given the caliber of competition, the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. She certainly has the ability to take the field gate to wire and is cutting back to a mile where she is three of six lifetime.
Pirate’s Trove could be in the mix early as the sprinter stretches out for the first time. She’s a dual stakes sprint winner over the artificial track at Woodbine and though she was lagging in her last two starts, she was also running against graded stakes company at Woodbine and Presque Isle. She drops back a bit in here but the competition may still prove a daunting task.
In the $50,000 Teleprompter Stakes, 3-1 morning line favorite Aztec Brave drew post 11 and, with quote a bit of speed inside of him, may have a difficult time getting forwardly placed before heading into the first turn. He is two of his last three, all stakes efforts, and came within a length of taking the Grade 3 Red Bank at Monmouth.
On the inside, Super Soldier, Crewman and Flashlight all have shown speed and could be in a position to carry the favorite wide early.
The very consistent Yankee Dealer could be a position to capitalize. He’ll come off the pace and Tim Thornton should have plenty of pace to run at. The 6-year old gelding is three of four since moving back to the turf full time with his only slip being a tough run in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap. He doesn’t win by much, his three wins adding up to less than length, but the gritty Michael Reavis trainee gets there and he’s going to be coming hard late.
Racing wraps at Arlington Park this weekend amid uncertainty of its future and the future of Chicago racing. Should the racetracks not get slot machines or VLTs, the future of racing at Arlington looks bleak.
Chicagoland racing returns to Hawthorne Friday, October 2.