06/07/2013 3:10PM

Arlington Park: Wekiva Wachee, Yankee Injunuity unlikely claims


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Horsemen playing the claiming game constantly keep in mind a guiding principle: Run a horse for more than he’s worth and he will lose, but run a horse for what he’s worth and you might lose the horse. Shelters exist – safe havens.

One is age. An 8- or 9-year-old can repeatedly win at the same claiming level and not get claimed. “This can’t last,” rival horsemen assume. Another is price. Claims for $80,000 or $100,000 are rare. Even if a horse seems worth the money, he might not be by the time he has managed to earn it back.

Both dynamics come up in the featured third and fourth races Sunday at Arlington. The third, a turf sprint, is for second-level allowance horses or $40,000 claimers. Wekiva Wachee and Yankee Injunuity both are very competitive at the class level, but the former is 8, the latter 9. Yankee Injunuity has raced for a claiming price between $30,000 and $40,000 in nine of his last 10 starts. He’s finished fourth or better in eight of them, and no one has claimed him. There are circuits with owners and trainers that regularly take chances on horses this age. Chicago isn’t one of them.

Sunday’s fourth, at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack, has too many high-end allowance conditions to list without inducing sleep and also is open to $80,000 claimers. Three of the six entrants are in for the tag, and the 4-year-old Control Tower and 5-year-old Dad Are We Here look like they might be worth the money. There are circuits where owners regularly shell out that kind of money for a claimer. Chicago typically has not been one of them, but local trainers now must think twice about the prospect of actually losing a horse like this. Owner William Stiritz reached in and claimed Hogy for $80,000 last fall at Hawthorne. Last month, Hogy won the $150,000 Hanshin Cup.

Dad Are We Here, an Illinois-bred, might have won the statebred-restricted Milwaukee Avenue Handicap on April 27 at Hawthorne, but he got smacked around at the start, knocked way out of position, and his rally from 16 lengths down after a half-mile fell 2 3/4 lengths short. He has run well before on Polytrack, and – claiming dynamics aside – is a player in Sunday’s fourth. So, too, is Control Tower, 2 for 2 over the local all-weather surface but unproven at Sunday’s distance.

Both old-timers in race 3 also have viable win chances, particularly as closing types in a race that could be fast-paced. One interesting prospect, and not offered for a tag, is Falaah, a lightly raced 6-year-old Shadwell Stable homebred who makes his first start on turf and, as a son of Speightsown and a Dayjur mare, should like it.