05/13/2011 4:26PM

Arlington Park: Santina Dond brings exotic form to feature


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – So far, the outfits Arlington Park is counting on to make its 2011 race meet go have been delivering, at least in terms of their quantity of starters.

John Haran, an owner-breeder turned trainer this meet, had sent out 10 runners through Wednesday’s action, the same number as trainers Manny Perez and Roger Brueggemann, both of whom were given larger Arlington stall allotments this year than ever before. Mike Maker, another Arlington newcomer, had logged six starters.

But no new stable – and only one barn of any sort – has been more active in the early days of this season than that of Gennadi Dorochenko, who already had run 12 horses after just four days of racing. Dorochenko has three more horses entered on Sunday’s nine-race Arlington card, including a 3-year-old filly named Santina Dond, who goes in the featured fourth race.

The Sunday feature, a one-turn Polytrack mile, is open to second-level allowance horses or $40,000 claimers and drew a field of seven. Rest assured that none of the other six have form lines as exotic as Santina Dond’s.

An American-bred daughter of El Prado, Santina Dond made her career debut last June at Warsaw Racecourse. That’s Warsaw, as in Poland, one point of operation for Dorochenko, who has for years been buying American sales horses for Russian owners. Santina Dond went 2 for 2 in the Polish phase of her career, facing, one assumes, less-than-stellar competition. She then made the exceedingly rare transition from Sluzewiec, another Warsaw-area track, to Mountaineer Park in West Virginia, where she ran her unbeaten mark to three with a one-mile allowance victory.

Santina Dond finished ninth last out in the Grade 3 Appalachian Stakes on turf at Keeneland, but she wasn’t badly beaten in the race and actually appears to have a chance in Arlington’s Sunday feature – though that can be said of virtually every horse in the race. The Maker-trained Jonmil’s Edge drops in class from Turfway Park stakes races to start under the $40,000 claiming option and looks like a danger as does Jitterbug Blues, a course-and-distance winner last meet while racing under these same conditions. Also somewhat appealing is Seeking Sheba, a last-out Keeneland allowance-race winner who has gone 2-1-0 from four Polytrack starts.