05/11/2012 3:33PM

Arlington: Odds stacked against Hero of Order on Polytrack vs. elders


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Scratched from a turf race last weekend at Arlington Park, Hero of Order, the shocking winner of the $1 million Louisiana Derby on April 1, is back in the entries Sunday at Arlington, one of eight horses in a second-level allowance race also open to $40,000 claimers and carded over a one-turn mile on Polytrack. 

Hero of Order, it has to be pointed out, is entered under the race’s allowance condition and not the claiming option. A $3,000 auction purchase by Sharp Humor owned and trained by Gennadi Dorochenko, Hero of Order ran in claiming races earlier in his career.

And when he was running in the Louisiana Derby, no one thought much of it until the top of the homestretch. There, at odds of 109-1, Hero of Order held a narrow lead over race favorite Mark Valeski, an advantge he managed to maintain until the finish. The $600,000 winner’s share of the graded stakes purse would have gotten Hero of Order into the Kentucky Derby – not that Derby week would have in any way have been ready for the eccentric, Russian-born Dorochenko – had Hero of Order been an original nominee to the Triple Crown. He was not, and therefore, even if Dorochenko had put up a $200,000 supplemental nomination fee, Hero of Order could only have started in the Derby if fewer than 20 original nominees desired a place in the race.

Instead, Hero of Order raced in the April 14 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. An unconvinced betting public sent him off at odds of 42-1. Hero of Order finished last of 13. 

Sunday, he is 5-2 on the Arlington Park morning line, odds that would be totally unappealing given Hero of Order’s 4-0-0-0 record on synthetic surfaces and the fact he’s facing older rivals for the first time in his career. Forestry Type should run with Hero of Order on the lead, while Illinois-breds Sacred Ground and Denham appear to be late-running threats.

Also in the race is Tapanna, a son of Tapit-Stormy Sunday, making him a full brother to Kentucky Derby flop Hansen. Kendall Hansen, Hansen’s colorful owner, also bred and owns Tapanna, who, being a bay horse, is unlikely to have any part of his body dyed blue for Sunday’s race.