08/21/2006 11:00PM

Chin High drops for a win

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When Chin High stunned the opening-day crowd at Keeneland in April by winning the Transylvania Stakes at 68-1, the temptation might well have been to label the victory a fluke.

Sure enough, in the 4 1/2 months that have elapsed, the 3-year-old has done nothing to prove his skeptics wrong. The colt has been soundly beaten in all four of his races since that head-scratching upset, although two of those losses came against the highly regarded Showing Up.

Nonetheless, trainer Neil Pessin insists the Transylvania was not a fluke, employing the simple premise that "at the time, he was on top of his game" and the colt "has taken a little tailspin since then."

Pessin believes that what is required to awaken Chin High from his doldrums is a drop in class, that great equalizer that often allows a horse to become competitive again. Toward that end, Chin High will drop into a $29,000 race that serves as the Thursday feature at Arlington Park.

Nine 3-year-olds are entered in the eighth of nine Thursday races, and Chin High, owned by Ike Thrash, is taking advantage of the race conditions by competing for a $50,000 claiming option. Most of the field is still eligible for a first-level allowance restriction that also governs the race, and with Chin High having knocked out that condition with his Transylvania win, Pessin is hopeful a sudden turnabout is forthcoming.

"He honestly hasn't had much excuse for his races, although there was absolutely no speed in his last race," the July 14 Round Table at Arlington, said Pessin. "If there's enough speed in there against him Thursday, and it looks like there might be, then hopefully things will set up for him, especially considering how the competition looks easier."

If Chin High, who will start the one-mile race from post 1 under Robby Albarado, is unable to prevail, the race could go any number of ways. Three others - Slick City Nites, Heaven's Hope, and Will's Wonder - also are entered for $50,000, and each of them appears capable with a top effort.

Polarity, despite his 1-for-12 record and recent 10th-place finish in an Ellis Park turf stakes, also merits consideration on his prior consistency and a return to dirt. The rest of the field is Bammel, Superstone, Big Red Ranger, and Meryl's Spirit.