09/07/2011 3:42PM

Arlington: Amoss can make presence felt big-time again


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Tom Amoss won 62 races at Arlington between 2004 and 2006, but since that time Chicago has not been much more than an afterthought for the Amoss stable, no more so than this summer, during which Amoss has won but 4 races from only 23 starters at the meet. All that said, Amoss could make his presence felt here Saturday, when he sends out Shared Property in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, an unrestricted 2-year-old race, and Always Here Too in the Arlington-Washington Lassie for 2-year-old fillies.

Saturday’s stakes were drawn Wednesday, and while both drew competitive fields, the Futurity lured a whopping 14 entrants. Twelve Hundred, Hogy, and Take Charge Indy – along with Shared Property – probably will be judged the major players in the Futurity, while Always Here Too, Ann of the Dance, and Essence of Bubbles might be the top betting choices among nine in the Lassie. Both races are worth $100,000 and contested over a one-turn Polytrack mile.

It’s the Polytrack that’s a major question for the Amoss-trained runners, both of whom have run only on Kentucky dirt. Always Here Too was a troubled fourth in her career debut July 4 at Churchill before breaking through with an easy maiden win July 31 at Ellis Park, while Shared Property overcame a slow start July 30 at Ellis to romp by four lengths over subsequent next-start maiden winner Motor City.

“Will they like it or not? There’s just no way to definitely know until they race over it,” Amoss said of the switch to a synthetic racing surface from dirt. Even solid morning works are no guarantee of afternoon success at Arlington, but Amoss has breezed both his 2-year-olds over the Arlington main track to give them a feel for the unusual surface. “They both worked, and worked well on it.”

Amoss said he chose Saturday’s Arlington races as a possible bridge to major stakes this fall in Kentucky. “If we want to run at Keeneland, this is a good chance to get them a race over a track that is similar to that one,” he said.

But only the actual races late Saturday afternoon will tell whether the Amoss barn’s rallying cry is “On to Keeneland!” or “Wait for Churchill!”

Willcox Inn bound for Delaware

Willcox Inn, who won the Arlington Classic and American Derby before finishing fourth in the Secretariat Stakes here this summer, is being pointed to the $250,000 Kent Stakes on Sept. 24 at Delaware Park, trainer Mike Stidham said.

Willcox Inn has logged two half-mile workouts since the Aug. 13 Secretariat, including a bullet 47.60-second move on Sept. 3. Banned, the Secretariat third-place finisher, returned to win the Del Mar Derby last weekend.

◗ The race for leading jockey at Arlington could come down to the wire. Through Monday’s action, James Graham held a 67-63 lead over Jozbin Santana, but lurking in third with 60 wins was Junior Alvarado, who had a strong last week to close ground on the top two after missing several weeks with a broken collarbone.