05/14/2004 11:00PM

Arlington: Smoke Chaser catches 'em


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - His feet under him now in his second season at Arlington, the trainer Dale Bennett entered this meet hoping to do some good. It didn't even take two full days.

Saturday, on Arlington's second program of 2004, Bennett put a saddle on the 5-year-old mare Smoke Chaser, and walked down to the winner's circle about 13 minutes later to get his picture taken. In the intervening time, Smoke Chaser had made a big outside move on the far turn, digging in the final half-furlong to hold off the late run of favored Tina Bull in the $41,875 Fit for a Queen Stakes. Her winning margin was a head, with Youcan'ttakeme another 5 1/2 lengths back in third.

Smoke Chaser's win Saturday gave her five wins in 11 starts here, and Smoke Chaser has never been worse than third at Arlington.

In Saturday's race, Pass the Pepper zipped out of post 1 to take the early lead, running a quarter-mile in 22.67 seconds with Fresh Tracks second, Summer Mis third, and Smoke Chaser stalking in fourth. Jockey Eddie Perez let Smoke Chaser move up at the three-eighths pole, and she came into the stretch with the lead and a full head of steam. Tina Bull, in some traffic early, came running, but her rally fell just short.

Smoke Chaser, owned by Marc Goldish and Savoy Stable, paid $9.20 to win, running six furlongs in 1:10.65.