06/11/2006 11:00PM

Creeker's Surprise remains a question


CHICAGO - Creeker's Surprise has been doing that dance that derails so many racehorses - one step forward, two steps back. The 5-year-old mare brings four layoff lines into the featured eighth race at Arlington Park on Wednesday, and though she looks good enough to win it, one has to wonder just where this mare's development is at when she makes her first start since early January.

"I have questions," trainer Jerry Calvin said.

Creeker's Surprise was one of seven entered in race 8, a third-level allowance race with a $50,000 claiming option. The seven-furlong dirt race basically is wide open. A victory by Megawattie would qualify as surprising, but not so much with any of the other six.

Creeker's Surprise won two in a row during the 2005 Oaklawn meet and looked like a horse with some future to her, but she finished sixth in the Bayakoa Stakes at that meet, and came out of the race with an injury, suffering another one after a comeback race early this year at Louisiana Downs.

Calvin cautions that Creeker's Surprise "might take a race or two" to get into winning form. Then again, she might not. While Calvin believes the mare is better at two turns than one, Creeker's Surprise did win a comeback race at six furlongs in 2005, and with six published works for this latest comeback, Creeker's Surprise could make things interesting Wednesday if she gets some pace at which to run.

Who knows who will be favored. Miss Classified earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 94 finishing second at this class level in her last start, but the figure looks inflated, and Miss Classified has the rail. Ritzy should take betting action, but is prone to seconds and thirds even when she runs well. Defuhr got a perfect setup winning her most recent start, while

R Fast Lady is a year removed from her best form. So watch out for Piano Tunner, who drops in class and may pounce from just off the pace.

Mojica due back Wednesday

Jockey Rafael Mojica Jr. didn't suffer any serious injuries in a Sunday spill, and was released from the hospital Sunday evening after undergoing precautionary examinations. His agent, Steve Elzey, said he expected Mojica to resume riding Wednesday.

Mojica was thrown when the filly he was riding, Casting Spells, broke down badly in the stretch of the seventh race. My Girl Erin fell over Casting Spells, but jockey James Graham was uninjured.