07/13/2012 2:30PM

Arlington: Love This Kitten may be hard to catch in allowance


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Thank heaven for the Illinois-breds. Without them, higher-level open allowance races at Arlington would have little chance of being carded.

Take Sunday’s nine-race program, which includes a pair of nice allowance races, a second-level Polytrack route for males and a third-level turf route for females. Illinois-breds, whose statebred-restricted allowance wins generally don’t count against their eligibility for open allowance races, make up three-eighths of the second-level allowance race and half of the 12-horse field entered in the third-level race.

The Illinois-bred runners are hardly just filler at this meet, and they have a decent chance to take down either or both of Sunday’s featured races.

The ninth, the turf route for females, is especially tough to unpack. Illinois-bred Love This Kitten is an effective speed horse going long on grass, and it’s possible she steals away to a clear lead and proves difficult to run down. Love This Kitten, who is entered under the race’s $80,000 claiming option, already has wired a pair of two-turn turf races this summer, in both cases opening a huge early lead that proved insurmountable. With the Arlington course packed very firm by drought conditions, and the portable rail out in lane 4, that strategy could succeed again.

Still, none of the horses closing on Love This Kitten in her recent wins would rate a solid shot Sunday, meaning the filly is taking a significant class hike. Ruthville, Roman Invader, and Trac N Jam are Kentucky-breds in with a chance, while Illinois-bred Peyote Patty figures to be among the favorites. The mild selection is Trac N Jam, who flopped last out at Indiana Downs but had a useful comeback run two starts ago at Arlington.

While Bowman’s Castle would need to take a large step forward to contend in the second-level allowance, race 4, either of the other two Illinois-breds in that 1 1/8-mile Polytrack race, Color Me Blue and Denham, could win. Color Me Blue was in great form over the winter at Oaklawn Park but has declined in two starts since that meet ended, and is entered Sunday under the race’s $40,000 claiming option. A rebound on the class drop is possible. Color Me Blue finished ninth last out in the Black Tie Affair, an Illinois-bred turf stakes, one place ahead of a dull Denham. But two starts ago in a Polytrack mile, Denham rallied nicely up the rail to finish a close second at this class level.

The race also includes Ballyjamesduff, who will not be widely expected to repeat his win in a similar race June 24: The horse went postward that day at odds of 54-1.