09/05/2013 3:48PM

Arlington Park: Whyruawesome wants hot pace in Arlington-Washington Futurity


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – While Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is in town to ride in the Arlington-Washington Lassie and the Arlington-Washington Futurity, little-known trainer Anne Smith might have the horse for the Grade 3, $150,000 Futurity on Saturday at Arlington.

Anne Smith has one client, the Windy Hill Farm of Pete and Peter Reiman, and Windy Hill has campaigned one horse of note, the multiple graded stakes winner Nates Mineshaft. But the day before Nates Mineshaft finished 12th in the Arlington Million, Windy Hill’s 2-year-old gelding, Whyruawesome, ran as well in winning his debut as any horse in the Futurity, and the rallying style he employed going seven furlongs could prove a good fit Saturday in a one-mile race with a speed surplus.

Cee ’n O on the rail, and even more so Lotsa Mischief in post 2, exit sprint races where they flashed speed. That pair, High Roll, Solitary Ranger, and even Gone Mountain and Joedini figure to go for early position, and a quick early and middle tempo should benefit Whyruawesome.

“His stride gets longer and longer the more distance he has,” Smith said.

Whyruawesome’s slim one-race r é sum é can’t be held against him: None of the seven other likely Futurity starters (Mighty Brown will be scratched in favor of a Louisiana Downs turf stakes) has started more than twice, none has won more than once, and Whyruawesome is one of only three horses with a race as long as seven furlongs.

His pedigree, by Whywhywhy and out of an Awesome Again mare, slants toward stamina, and Whyruawesome galloped out strongly after jockey Diego Sanchez got the gelding to stop lugging in and pass a colt named Category to win at first asking.

“I thought he might run a little green, which we all saw,” said Smith, who debuted Whyruawesome in blinkers. “He looks off into the distance at things. We’re trying to get his mind on his job, and there definitely is improvement showing up.”

Mike Smith’s mount is Irish import Captain’s Affair, who won his May 8 debut at Gowran Park in a modest maiden race. On Aug. 9 at Tipperary, he finished fifth of six in the El Gran Senor Stakes, a race won by the promising colt Indian Maharaja. Captain’s Affair – who won’t race on Lasix – makes his first start on an all-weather track and might appreciate getting off the soft turf he found overseas.

High Roll’s Aug. 3 debut win at Arlington was as sharp as Whyruawesome’s, but High Roll ran only 5 1/2 furlongs and led on a fast pace. Jockey Cisco Torres asked High Roll for speed that day, and trainer Jim DiVito believes High Roll has tactical versatility.

“He has natural speed, but this is a relaxed horse,” DiVito said.

Trainer Tom Amoss, who won this race with Shared Property in 2011, found no excuse for Joedini’s flat third-place finish as the odds-on favorite in the Mountaineer Juvenile last month, but Joedini won his debut at Indiana Downs in July with a flourish.

“Rarely do you see a horse quicken to the naked eye like that,” Amoss said.

Solitary Ranger is a maiden whose two starts came at 4 1/2 furlongs in April, but trainer Wayne Catalano is a two-time Futurity winner, and Solitary Ranger was a good second behind No Nay Never, who since has won group stakes in England and France.

Arlington-Washington Lassie is wide open

If the Futurity presents a challenging handicapping puzzle, the $100,000 Lassie, another one-turn Polytrack mile, is enough to tie one’s brain in knots: It would be no great surprise to see any of the 11 2-year-old fillies come out on top.

Nine of the entrants in the Lassie are mere maiden winners, while Gumdrop finished second in her only start. Divergent View has won twice but never has raced beyond six furlongs, has started only on dirt, and has yet to run to workouts, said trainer Amoss, who has been blinker-tinkering with the filly.

Tamazula and Maria Maria turned in the top maiden performances by 2-year-old fillies here this summer, though Tamazula’s win came only two weeks ago and over just 5 1/2 furlongs. Maria Maria beat Lassie entrant Battlefield Angel by 3 1/2 lengths July 19 and might be favored.

“Being by Curlin, a longer distance should help her,” DiVito said of Maria Maria.

Tamazula finished third in her Aug. 1 debut in a race won by Lassie hopeful She’s Offlee Good, a filly with the pedigree to run at least as well at this longer trip. Istanford led throughout for a five-length debut score in a two-turn turf race Aug. 18 but will encounter far different circumstances Saturday.