05/06/2013 3:23PM

Arlington Park notes: Calmer Than You gets second crack at Polytrack


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – It was a good opening weekend at Arlington for trainer Jim DiVito, who won with three of the six horses he sent out, and DiVito has a good chance to start the second week of the meeting in similar style when he saddles Calmer Than You in the featured first race Wednesday.

Wednesday’s opener, for second-level allowance horses or $40,000 claimers, is one of three allowance races on a nine-race card, though the other two are restricted to Illinois-breds. Race 1, a six-furlong Polytrack dash, drew only six entrants, and, perhaps fearing scratches that could further reduce an already-short field, the Arlington racing office carded the feature early.

Calmer Than You, a 4-year-old gelding, has the credentials to win but has yet to demonstrate that he can run a top race on Polytrack. His lone start on the surface came two summers ago, and Calmer Than You finished fourth, but the race was the first of his career and can’t stand as a definitive marker of Calmer Than You’s Polytrack capabilities.

Calmer Than You’s most recent start, on April 12 at Hawthorne, produced a close second-place finish at this class level, and he is well drawn in post 5 to use his strong early speed. A sharp recent five-furlong Arlington main-track workout suggests that speed might hold, too.

A plausible case might be made for all five other horses entered in the race, though the connections of the 8-year-old Wekiva Wachee almost certainly are using Wednesday’s main-track race as a prep for an upcoming turf sprint.

There is a potentially good horse in Wednesday’s second race, too, as the Illinois-bred 3-year-old filly Catafire makes her first start of 2013. Trained by Christine Janks, Catafire won both her starts last year at 2, including a blowout debut score in an Arlington Polytrack sprint similar to the spot in which she makes her comeback Wednesday.

Fordubai to skip Preakness

Illinois Derby runner-up Fordubai coughed and had to miss a scheduled workout Saturday, removing him from consideration for the Preakness Stakes, trainer Greg Geier said. Fordubai’s condition already has improved. Geier hopes to work him next weekend, and the talented colt could make his next start on turf in the Arlington Classic.

However, Geier’s other talented 3-year-old, Street Spice, still is being considered for the Preakness, Geier said Monday. A troubled fifth in the Illinois Derby, Street Spice was fitted with blinkers for the first time when he worked five-eighths of a mile from the gate in a moderate 1:03.40 on Saturday. Geier said Street Spice would breeze again next weekend, after which plans for his next start would be firmed up.

◗ Hot-riding seven-pound apprentice Emmanuel Esquivel carried over his strong showing at the Hawthorne spring meet – the first meet of his career – to the opening week at Arlington. After three racing days, Esquivel topped the jockey standings with five victories from 19 mounts.

Among several jockeys with three winners is Kent Desormeaux, who is based at Arlington for the first time.

◗ Arlington said 23,186 patrons attended the races Saturday for the Kentucky Derby simulcast.