Mr. Lexis, the horse we manage for CAC Racing LLC, heads postward this afternoon versus eight foes and while he was installed as the tepid 3-1 morning line favorite, this race did not come up easy. Here’s a look at the field:
1 MR LEXIS (BRINSON/EMIGH)
2 Five Green Stars (Block/Esquivel) – State bred allowance winner had a real tough time against open company at the Fairgrounds. While he’s back home and dropping into claiming company, he may need to face lower.
3 Top Gato (Mason/Felix) – He ran a very professional race last out over the Oaklawn Park dirt track in his first race off the claim for the new connections. This is a pretty good step up but he has 2 wins in only 5 lifetime starts.
4 Love you Mon (Williamson/Geroux) – Emigh came off of this one to ride us but Geroux is no slouch. He’s won a few times here at Arlington, albeit at lower levels. He did show speed before fading 1st off the layoff and could be in line to step up a bit here.
5 Kitten’s Song (Haran/Murrilo) – Well bred colt won at this level before on this track, though over a yielding strip. Firing first off the layoff is tough.
6 Armature (Rousell/Gudiel) – I actually like this one’s chances. He hasn’t run too badly recently and the score at the Fairgrounds two back was nice. Our saving grace may be that he doesn’t seem to like the Arlington track, though those races were all in maidens before he had a chance to figure things out.
7 Poker Player (Catalano/Hill) – Won the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland and ran in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf that same year. Now he is a couple of seasons removed from that but as recently as December 27 he was still thought highly enough to run in a stake. He didn’t fare well in a Turfway optional claimer so now he heads into straight claimers to try and get a win out of him. Either he is the class of the field or completely washed up.
8 Brim (Rodriguez/Homeister Jr.) – You can probably draw a line through that last dirt debacle – this one clearly belongs on the turf. Last competitive race was a win at the Fairgrounds in a $15,000 conditioned claimer.
9 Badger Bay (Williamson/Perez) – This one is entered for the main track only and with the weather the next two days predicted to be sunny and dry, don’t expect to see him.
So we’re looking at a probable field of 8 and I have two concerns: a complete lack of any pace in the race and I don’t know what to make of Poker Player.
On pace, maybe Top Gato or Kitten’s Song could cut the fractions but if you look back at our boy’s races 3 and 4 back, he was mighty close to the lead. A good break and the inside post and we could find ourselves on the lead and hope that Emigh can ration his speed. With a field full of closers if he can crawl the fractions without frustrating the horse we could be looking good.
As for Poker Player, my guess is that he’s done. As a colt, I would think if he doesn’t win here and turn things around he may be retired. He is a graded stakes winner from Harlan’s Holiday out of a mare by Preakness and Gotham winner Red Bullet. He may try stud duty before they totally collapse the value on him by running in low level claiming races. Then again this kind of company may be just what he needs but his BrisNet speed figures say that while he may belong in here, he doesn’t tower over.
Good luck everyone!!