05/30/2012 2:36PM

Arlington: Midwest Thoroughbreds proving to be major player at meet


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – When Rich Papiese, the principal in Midwest Thoroughbreds, announced that he would be stabling his Chicago string trained by Roger Brueggemann at Hawthorne this summer, he asserted that Midwest would be as active as any owner at Arlington Park despite not keeping horses on the grounds. And Papiese has been true to his word. Through Monday’s races, Midwest has sent out more runners (33) and won more races (6) than any other Arlington owner, and the Midwest-Brueggemann connection has horses entered in all three allowances races on the Friday program here.

In race 3, a second-level Illinois-bred Polytrack sprint allowance, Midwest tries Cub’s Thunder, who has a chance by virtue of landing in a short field lacking standouts. In race 4, the day’s feature – an open second-level Polytrack sprint allowance with a $40,000 claiming option – Midwest and Brueggemann entered a pair. Catfeinated and Sacred Gift, either of whom could contend. And in race 8 (the day’s best betting race), a second-level Illinois-bred turf-route allowance, the entrant is Star of Paradise, who would need a significant step forward to make much of a dent in a deep group.

Still, raw statistics say Papiese will land a blow somewhere along the line. After winning 411 races during 2011, 138 more than the next-highest owner total, Midwest has been going crazy in 2012. Through May 29 Midwest had already won 269 races (the second-leading owner by wins has 89) for an average of more than 1.75 victories per day, a pace that would give Midwest an incredible 639 if it kept it up until the end of 2012.

Arlington has proven to be a fairly tough place to rack up wins this season, and races like the eighth, the Illinois-bred second-level turf race, are the reason why: The 11-horse field is packed with plausible contenders. The pick is Real Power, a 3-year-old gelding whose form probably still is ascendant. Real Power steps up to face much tougher competition than he beat last out at Hawthorne in an Illinois-bred first-level allowance race, but he has started only five times on turf in his career, leaving him room to grow. In that recent start he scored the first truly decisive win of his career, a hint that Real Power might just now be coming into his own.