08/21/2012 2:32PM

Arlington Park: Sacristy taking big drop in search of a win

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Tom Keyser
Sacristy will drop to a second-level allowance after two failed Grade 1 attempts.

Taking a class drop from back-to-back Grade 1 attempts into a second-level allowance would seem the right formula in trying to get a horse back to the winner’s circle. And that’s precisely the path that Sacristy is endeavoring to take for trainer Wayne Catalano.

Still, “it looks like it’s not going to be as easy as I thought,” said Catalano.

Sacristy, well beaten in the Kentucky Oaks and Acorn Stakes, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in what happens to be the best race Thursday at Arlington Park, the first. The six-furlong Polytrack race carries a $44,000 purse and drew a field of eight fillies and mares.

Sacristy, a 3-year-old filly by Pulpit, started 2012 the right way, winning the Grade 3 Old Hat at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day. She followed that with placings in graded races, the Forward Gal at Gulfstream and the Beaumont at Keeneland, before being overmatched in the May 4 Oaks and May 28 Acorn.

“She got a little lost out there at Belmont Park, that big ol’ track and going as far as they did,” said Catalano, adding that jockey Rosie Napravnik “didn’t really overuse her.”

After that, Sacristy got a little time off before returning with three workouts over the local strip.

“She’s a pretty nice filly,” said Catalano. “We’re just trying to get her confidence back.”

Miguel Mena will be aboard Sacristy when she breaks from post 5. Several of her opponents have the credentials to register the mild upset, most notably Oh Carole, who returns from an 18-month layoff after showing promise at the outset of her career.

Oh Carole, having posted a series of sharp works at Churchill Downs in recent weeks for trainer Eddie Kenneally, won her first two career starts before finishing a distant fourth at 3-1 in the 2011 Davona Dale at Gulfstream. She will have Jimmy Graham aboard when she breaks from just outside of Sacristy in post 6.

“She just wasn’t right, and we never really did figure out exactly what was wrong, so we gave her all the time she needed,” said Kenneally. “The good news is she came back really well. She’s had some great works over the last couple of months.”

Other considerations in the Thursday opener include Rocket Twentyone and the Bill Stiritz coupling of St. Louis City and Our Domain, all of whom also have stakes experience.

Two other allowances, both restricted to Illinois-breds, occupy the more customary feature slots later on the Thursday card, which starts at 1 p.m. Central.

Race 6, a first-level Polytrack route worth $44,000, will have Market Buzz as a solid favorite off a July 19 maiden romp. Race 8, a second-level turf mile worth $46,000, seems more well-matched, with two stable couplings among the 12 3-year-olds and upward in the lineup.