06/14/2013 3:10PM

Arlington Park: Sharp debut winner Ascot Eye tries turf


The 3-year-old filly Ascot Eye debuted May 29 at Arlington showing a series of eye-catching works. Indeed, her morning activity had caught the eye of someone in possession of a big mouth, a big wallet, or both. Ascot Eye went postward at odds of 4-5 in an off-the-turf five-furlong maiden race. Taking such a short price on a first-time starter seems foolhardy, but Ascot Eye’s backers got paid, and never with a nervous moment.

“I was kind of surprised how quickly she cleared everybody,” said Dan Peitz, who trains Ascot Eye, a Daaher filly, for Shadwell Stables.

Ascot Eye cleared and kept on rolling, dashing away to a 7 3/4-length win that produced an 87 Beyer Speed Figure. The matchup against Polytrack maidens sure broke in her favor: Sunday at Arlington, we will see how Ascot Eye fares against first-level allowance opponents on turf.

Ascot Eye is one of nine 3-year-old fillies entered in Sunday’s sixth race, a first-level turf-sprint allowance also open to $75,000 claimers. Race 6 is co-featured on a solid card with race 3, a race with the same conditions but without a sex restriction.

Ascot Eye, held out of action as a 2-year-old to allow for maturation, came to Peitz during the Oaklawn meet and nearly was ready to run there. Instead, her unveiling came at Arlington, where she ranks as one of the flashiest maidens this meet. Peitz said he recently entered Ascot Eye in a Polytrack allowance race that failed to fill, winding up instead in Sunday’s race, carded for turf. The filly has grass in her pedigree, though her trainer isn’t certain she will transfer her form, and Ascot Eye could wind up in a heated pace duel unless she reveals an off-the-pace dimension.

“I don’t think she’s got to be all speed,” Peitz said. “She acts like she’s got some quality to her.”

Perhaps five other fillies in the race – including Lignite, who makes her first start since a Saratoga maiden win last summer – have pace to challenge Ascot Eye for the lead. An early-speed-heavy race-shape could work in favor of Forget that Gal and Noell’s Quay, who finished a nose apart in third and fourth in a May 24 race at this class level and distance.

Race 3 also appears to be packed with early speed, though perhaps nothing as brilliant as Ascot Eye. Razman rallied from seventh into a moderate pace in a similar race May 27 and nearly got up, and he would be formidable with another favorable setup.