06/20/2005 11:00PM

Come on Jazz now ready to win


CHICAGO - Fort Prado and Home of Stars fall well above the median performance level of a typical Illinois-bred turf horse, and rather than face them Saturday in the Black Tie Affair Handicap, a statebred turf stakes on the Prairie State Festival card, the connections of a couple other Illinois-bred grass horses have opted instead for Thursday's featured eighth race, a third-level turf allowance with a $62,5000 claiming option.

But even here, the Illinois-bred pair of Our Last Novel and Persuaggle is in fairly deep.

First, there are two Bobby Frankel-trained horses in from Churchill Downs - a rare sight on a mid-week Arlington card - but of greater concern to the Illinois-breds could be , who is ready to win in his second start back from a freshening and a stretchout in distance to 1 1/8 miles.

has started his season strongly, with two second-place finishes in races similar to the Thursday feature, and in his most recent start he finished a half-length ahead of Come on Jazz.

But that race was at 1 1/16 miles, and the extra 110 yards could make the difference. Our Last Novel has gone 3-0-1-0 in races at 1 1/8 miles, while Come on Jazz has notched 2 of his 3 career wins at the distance. Come on Jazz lacks speed and needs racing luck, but the presence of a few pace horses should string the field out enough for jockey Shaun Bridgmohan to find a spot.

Bridgmohan continues to top the jockey standings in his first meet here. He had 41 winners through Sunday. Chris Emigh made a run last week to reach 32 victories, and he, too, rides a contender in the Thursday feature. Emigh landed the mount on the Frankel-trained Royal Gem, who has lost seven times at similar allowance conditions, but generally has faced better competition than he does this time.

finished a close sixth last out at Churchill, and two starts back wound up in the same race as Grade 1-class horses Red Fort and Castledale.

If rain moves the race to dirt, Iosilver clearly becomes the horse to beat. Iosilver won an off-the-turf second-level allowance by nine lengths a month ago, and seems to hold a clear edge on the main track.