09/03/2011 11:53AM

Arlington Park: Happy Henrietta can continue a trend


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – A h orseplayer who had come into the 2011 Arlington Park meeting determined to play every turf horse sent out by trainer Michele Boyce this summer would, at this juncture, be a horseplayer with a sack full of cash. Grass horses from the Boyce stable have won nine of 30 starts while producing a swollen $4.12 return on every $2 bet to win.

But why, one might ask, would a bettor have hatched such a plan? Because the Boyce stable’s two previous Arlington seasons led to similar results, is why. In 2010 the tally was 6 winners from 35 starters and a $3.56 return on investment, in 2009, 8 for 32 with a $2.32 return. Go ahead and tie that string around your finger right now, and make it tight – the 2012 Arlington meet still is eight months away.

As for 2011, Boyce sends Happy Henrietta – an exemplar of her turf summer – out to do battle in the featured ninth race on Monday, a second-level allowance also option to $40,000 claimers and carded for one mile on grass. Can Happy Henrietta win this race? Well, yes, she already did. Racing for the $40,000 claiming option on Aug. 18, Happy Henrietta beat six foes at this class level going 1 1/16 miles. She paid $10 to win that day, having tallied at $7.60 the race before and as the 8-5 favorite in June. Three straight wins, and as Boyce has continued stepping Happy Henrietta up the class ladder, Happy Henrietta keeps responding.

But things are getting more challenging Monday. Happy Henrietta seems happiest when she is on the early lead herself or racing outside and in the clear while not far behind the leader. She has gotten such trips during her three-win streak, and done so in slow-paced races, but this time Happy Henrietta and jockey Jozbin Santana have drawn post 3, with Doilookfatnthese, Wanda Wandaful, and Seans Silverdancer – three more front-end types – all to her outside.

Roman Invader rallied for second behind Happy Henrietta in their common last start, and surely would appreciate a stronger early pace. Tap Tap Tapping, Kentucky-based trainer Dave Vance’s first runner of the meet, also has a decent late kick, and has seen her form move far forward with a recent switch to turf. Born Indy U S A and Cave Creeker are two more who could do with a quick, contested pace, while Doilookfatnthese is a front-end threat in her own right if the pace breaks right.