08/16/2009 11:00PM

Bridgmohan a red-hot rider on turf


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan's move from Calder Race Course to Arlington Park early this summer has not resulted in raging success. But for whatever reason, Bridgmohan, the younger brother of one-time Arlington leading jock Shaun Bridgmohan, has been riding wild on the Arlington grass course. Bridgmohan has won 15 races at the meet, and 10 of those wins have come on grass. These are not short-priced favorites, either: Blind-betting the younger Bridgmohan on turf would have produced a return on investment of $4.57 this summer.

One of those winners Bridgmohan has booted home on turf, a horse named Hustle, is part of the nominally featured seventh race here Wednesday, an entry-level optional $50,000 claimer for 3-year-olds. But a quick caveat: After mainly dry weather for weeks, the Chicago area is locked into an occasional-thunderstorm pattern right now. There was rain Sunday, rain Monday, and a forecast for possible storms through the weekend, meaning the Wednesday feature could easily get moved to Polytrack.

Hustle was first-time turf for trainer Raja Malek in a $40,000 maiden claimer on July 29, and after tracking a quick pace, she drew off and won by more than six lengths. Grass clearly moved Hustle forward, and the fact she won for a tag should not hinder believers in that recent success, since four of the eight entrants in this 1 1/16-mile race are entered under the claiming option. There are no standouts, just a barrel full of possibilities.

Put Punta Ballena on the win-contender list, too. She just cruised to a maiden win at odds of 1-5 in a Canterbury Park maiden race, and while Punta Ballena failed to win in two Arlington grass races this meet, she had excuses both times. Pterodactyl's Rule had a wide post and trouble when she started at this class level here July 25; three weeks earlier at Canterbury, the post position was better, but the traffic problems were the same.

Lady of Greatness and Diva in Training both exit race 5 on July 19, a 3-year-old filly turf claimer where most of an 11-horse field was separated by about a length. Their form is somewhat difficult to read because of that strange race, while Napoleon's Retreat, a turf-debut winner over Illinois-bred allowance horses last time, will be tested at least a little for class in this open race.