Grade I stakes winner Honor in War carries top impost of 120 pounds while heading a field of 11 turf specialists entered in Saturday's $250,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park.
The final local prep for the Arlington Million (gr. IT), which will be run Aug. 16, is contested at the Million distance of 1 1/4 mile over Arlington's turf course. The Arlington Handicap is one of three six-figure stakes races that comprise the track's Million Preview Day program that also includes the $150,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares and the $100,000 Round Table Stakes for 3-year-olds.
A 4-year-old Lord At War colt, Turn Stables LLC's Honor in War looks to rebound from a sixth-place finish in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 7. That 1 1/4-mile race was contested over extremely soft going which likely compromised the chances of the Paul McGee trainee.
Prior to the New York race, Honor in War scored at odds of nearly 25-1 in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) over a firm course at Churchill Downs on May 3. David Flores has the mount aboard Honor in War, who drew the outside post and will spot his rivals from two to six pounds in the Arlington Handicap.
Candid Glen invades from the south where the son of El Gran Senor ran fourth in the $250,000 Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie in June. Earlier this year, the Andrew Leggio Jr.-trained 6-year-old was a neck victor in the Explosive Bid Handicap (gr. IIT) at the Fair Grounds when dispatched at odds of more than 84-1.
Mystery Giver, the reigning Illinois Horse of the Year who finished fifth in this race last year despite a troubled trip, won the $150,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup for the second straight year in February. In his last start, the Chris Block-trained son of Dynaformer was second through the line behind Act of War in the $86,150 Cardinal Handicap, but was disqualified and placed ninth for interference in the stretch of that 1 1/16-mile turf race.
Lightly raced over recent seasons, Tijiyr is winless since capturing the Explosive Bid Handicap at the Fair Grounds in 2001. His connections, owner Gary Tanaka and trainer Donald J. Burke II, teamed up to win last year's Arlington Handicap with Falcon Flight. Last time out, the 7-year-old son of Primo Dominie ran fifth in a conditioned allowance race at Hollywood Park. In his only other start this year, he was unplaced in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) at Hollywood. $250,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT), 3 & up, 1 1/4 mile on turf
PP. Horse Name, Weight, Jockey
1. Better Talk Now (KY), 114, Rene R. Douglas
2. Della Francesca (PA), 114, Larry Melancon
3. Drewman (KY), 114, Carlos H. Marquez, Jr.
4. Mystery Giver (IL), 118, Robby Albarado
5. Act of War (IL), 114, Curt C. Bourque
6. Shaanmer (IRE), 117, Brice Blanc
7. Extra Check (KY), 114, Earlie Fires
8. Candid Glen (KY), 118, Elvis J. Perrodin
9. Gretchen's Star (KY), 115, Eusebio Razo, Jr.
10. Tijiyr (IRE), 117, Ray Sibille
11. Honor in War (KY), 120, David R. Flores