08/23/2011 5:24PM

Arlington Park: Ice having solid meet


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - In 2009, just his second year as a head trainer, Tim Ice seemed ascendant. He had Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird in his barn, won some other races in New York, and generally appeared to be on the road to someplace good. But early in 2010, with Ice in a slow patch at Oaklawn Park, owners Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman took Summer Bird and 24 other horses away from Ice, who was left training a string of six and wound up winning just 17 races during 2010. But Ice has rebounded. Spending his first summer at Arlington Park, and training on a synthetic surface for the first time, Ice has put together a strong meet with his 15-horse string, compiling a record of 10-6-3 from just 44 starters.

“I’m satisfied with the way things have gone,” Ice said. “I’ve had a little bit of success, and I’m very impressed with this facility.”

Ice has sent out two 2-year-old maiden winners during the Arlington season, and both appear among the six entries in the featured fourth race here Thursday, a first-level allowance race also open to $62,500 claimers and carded for seven furlongs. Of the two Ice-trained starters, Pryce’s Posse appears to be farther along than No Spin. Pryce’s Posse won his June 19 career debut by four lengths, showing flashy early speed, but finished second to undefeated Hogy in a July 2 allowance race here, and was third of seven on Aug. 6 in the $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes. No Spin was a distant third when he made his career debut on July 14, but that race already has produced three subsequent winners: No Spin captured a maiden race here Aug. 17, while place horse Ville won a maiden race last weekend at Arlington, and winner Twelve Hundred easily won a two-turn Prairie Meadows stakes race.

But both the Ice-trained horses have to deal with Larry Zip, who makes his first start since April, when he won his career debut at Keeneland in sharp fashion. Rallying up the rail under James Graham, Larry Zip went from eighth place at the three-furlong pole to first by almost three lengths at the wire, a performance that led to his private purchase by owner Peter Redekop.

“He broke his maiden early, and he just needed time to mature,” new trainer Mike Stidham said of Larry Zip’s gap between starts. “He’s got the ability.”

Hooh Why gets turf victory

Every time it looks like Hooh Why’s best days are behind her, the 5-year-old mare says otherwise. Her latest revival came with a switch to turf, over which Hooh Why beat graded-stakes class Askbut I Won’ttell on Aug. 12 in the female division of the $60,000 Illinois Owners Stakes.

Hooh Why, by the $3,500 stud Cloud Hopping, won for the eighth time in 31 starts in the Illinois Owners, and boosted her bankroll to $829,543. A good portion of those earnings came from a 24-1 upset of the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in 2009, but Hooh Why has proven to be more than a flash in the pan. She endured a six-race losing streak through the summer of 2010, but got back on form and captured the Group 3 Seaway Stakes at Woodbine later last summer. And after losing seven of eight races – her only win a nose victory in an Arlington allowance race – Hooh Why looked good turning back a midstretch challenge from heavily favored Askbut I Won’ttell earlier this month.

“I’ve been trying to get her on turf for two years,” said co-owner Mark Hoffman, who ships Hooh Why around the country himself, and plays a hands-on role in her training. “She pretty much seems to run on anything.”

Hoffman is not shy about shipping, and plans to send Hooh Why back out on the road for her next start, either in the Sept. 18 Noble Damsel at Belmont or the Canadian Stakes on the same day at Woodbine.