09/01/2012 1:38PM

Arlington Park: Princeville Condo worth a serious look in feature


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Arlington Park’s Labor Day feature calls for some serious handicapping work.

Twelve horses were entered in the 1 1/8-mile turf race with multiple allowance conditions and an $80,000 claiming option. The race has quality – whether it’s contested on turf, as scheduled, or rained onto Polytrack after weekend showers –and the bulk of its entrants appear evenly matched.

While the feature, race 9 of 10, presents a formidable tangle, it looks like there are several speed horses entered. If the race stays on turf, Mr. Mischief, Ratatat, Achaemenes, and Soultown all could vie for early position, and such a scenario would benefit Princeville Condo, who has a decent chance regardless of pace.

As a 7-year-old with only 18 starts, Princeville Condo clearly has not had a trouble-free career: His trainer, Michele Boyce, has described a seemingly endless series of physical concerns, ranging from niggling to more serious, the most recent of which kept Princeville Condo out of action between October 2011 and Aug. 11, when he finished third in the open division of the $100,000 Illinois Owners Stakes. At his best, Princeville Condo has verged on being a Grade 3-type turf horse, and his useful comeback run – in which he was caught a bit wide on both turns and finished resolutely – suggested Princeville Condo could produce something close to his best in an upcoming race. Namely, this one.

Mr. Mischief finished second, three lengths in front of Princeville Condo, in the Owners Stakes, but that performance came with a clear lead on a moderate pace. The presence of other speed horses works against Mr. Mischief, as does the longer nine-furlong distance of Monday’s race.

Ratatat, another of the front-runners, is working on a three-race win streak for trainer Ingrid Mason, the most recent victory at this same class level. But it’s the third-place finisher from Ratatat’s last win, Formaggio, who might merit more attention Monday. A 5-year-old who has hinted at untapped talent throughout his career, Formaggio was making his first start in 11 months when he rallied from six lengths down at the stretch call to come within three-quarters of a length of Ratatat, and the 1 1/8-mile distance should help this horse

Formaggio, though, was cross-entered in a race on Monday at Ellis Park. Another entrant, Workin for Hops, was to keep his slot in Saturday’s Washington Park Handicap and will be scratched from the Monday feature.