06/29/2009 11:00PM

Big dreams for Rumor Has It


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Rumor Has It won the Polar Expedition Stakes by almost six lengths Saturday at Arlington Park. And what that means is hard to say.

The Polar Expedition was contested at 1 3/4 miles on Polytrack. Rumor Has It's winning time of 3:03.84 set a track record because no race had ever been run under such conditions before.

There is a good reason to ponder Rumor Has It's performance, and that reason is the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon, a race lengthened to 1 3/4 miles for 2009. It's a lofty goal, but one that has entered the minds of Rumor Has It's connections.

"If he were doing really, really good at the time, we might have to consider that," said trainer David Hinsley, who has trained Rumor Has It for his last 14 starts. Hinsley got Rumor Has It, an 8-year-old, in February 2006, after the horse had been away for more than two years with a suspensory ligament injury. Rumor Has It twice raced in $25,000 claimers before Hinsley found the gelding's hole card - opening a big lead in long-distance races.

Last June, Rumor Has It finished a close second at odds of 55-1 in the Rossi Gold, a 1 7/16-mile turf stakes at Arlington. In September, and still with no wins since 2005, Rumor Has It went off at 59-1 in the 12-furlong, Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Turf at Kentucky Downs. He led all the way, winning by almost four lengths.

A return trip to Euro-style Kentucky Downs is in the cards. After a half-mile of the Polar Expedition, Rumor Has It had opened up something like a 20-length lead. The chasers used themselves up closing the gap, and it was long-winded Rumor Has It who had the most left in the stretch, giving Hinsley his first winner of this meet.

"He's 8 years old, so we have to be careful with how quickly we run him back," Hinsley said. "He's going to get beat a few times. He's going to run as hard as he possibly can, and if they hook him, well . . ."

But if Rumor Has It is not kept honest up front, and if the horse is feeling good, he just keeps on going - perhaps all the way to Santa Anita later this year.

Plenty of speed in allowance

Thursday's eight-race card is somewhat light on horseflesh, with only 63 entries before scratches, but heavy on allowance races. Half the card is devoted to allowance racing, with the highest-class fare in race 7, an open second-level allowance carded for one mile on Polytrack.

The feature drew just six entries, and three of them want to lead. Class-dropping Hurta led through a half-mile in less than 46 seconds on his way to a fourth-place finish in the May 1 Timeless Native, while It's Never to Late is an habitual front-runner who has led at the first call in seven of his last eight starts. But neither may be as fast through the opening quarter-mile as Trojan War, who pressed a half-mile pace of about 44.80 seconds sprinting in his most recent start.

Barring scratches or tactical adjustments from the speed types, Thursday's seventh sets up for a closer, and Four to Go looks like the right one. Fourth in a pair of two-turn starts this meet, Four to Go has scored his only two career wins in Arlington one-turn mile races.

Jockey fundraiser tickets available

Tickets were to go on sale Wednesday for an Arlington event called Dining with the Dynasty, a fundraiser benefiting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America.

Ticket-holders for the event will have a chance to meet and speak with 23 well-known jockeys at a luncheon on Friday, Aug. 7. Among those scheduled to attend are Ron Turcotte, Braulio Baeza, Jerry Bailey, Walter Blum, Bill Boland, Don Brumfield, Angel Cordero Jr., Pat Day, Earlie Fires, Julie Krone, Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay Jr., Randy Romero, Jose Santos, Gary Stevens, and Jorge Velasquez.

The day's program includes live and silent auctions as well as an autograph session. Tickets are available for $300 at the Arlington administrative offices, as well online at www.pdjf.com, the website of the Disabled Jockeys Fund.