08/28/2005 11:00PM

Bad post Dew Drop's lone flaw

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CHICAGO - More than $6.3 million was bet on the Arlington races Saturday. The racing office has been on a roll, the programs here last week packed with entries, and this week is starting out similarly, with more than 90 horses entered on Wednesday's nine-race card.

Most surprising has been the turnout in higher-end allowance races, which typically struggle to attract decent-sized fields. Wednesday's featured eighth race, a third-level turf allowance with a $62,500 claiming option, drew a field of 11, with two more entered main-track-only.

Also of note is race 6, a second-level allowance that lured Kierkendahl, whose name was mentioned as a Kentucky Derby hopeful this past winter in Southern California. Kierkendahl, who makes his first start for trainer Don Von Hemel, has been legged up for his comeback at Remington Park, but breezed once at Arlington. He faces seven rivals in a second-level allowance race at 6 1/2 furlongs. Kierkendahl won his first two starts before finishing fifth in the San Rafael Stakes and third in the San Vicente, his last race before a lengthy layoff.

Contenders in the featured eighth are many, including the undefeated Dew Drop, a Brazilian import who won her U.S. debut here for trainer Helen Pitts. Dew Drop's victory foreshadowed the impressive allowance win last week by another Brazilian horse, Durban Thunder, and while Dew Drop might not be in that class, she has yet to lose in three starts on two continents, while running on fast dirt, wet dirt, and turf.

"I actually think she's better on the turf, which she gets this time," Pitts said. "I think she's pretty special."

was nearly 6-1 when she won a second-level allowance at one mile on dirt on July 27, but Pitts said she wasn't surprised Dew Drop ran well after a long break and in her first start since being exported.

"Her works were all pretty quick, some of the other [Brazilians] we've had don't work that quick," said Pitts. "To watch her breezing, you would say she's pretty talented."

Talent and plenty of racing luck will be required for Dew Drop to win from post 11, since the outside is the wrong place to be in a one-mile turf races here. has the rail, and comes off a convincing entry-level allowance win here Aug. 4. Her problem has been pairing up top efforts, but midway through her 4-year-old season, Anegada might just now be fully maturing.

First-time turf runner figures to be winging out on the early lead, and if she handles grass, she will take some catching.