07/10/2007 11:00PM

Dashes N Dots to take on males


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill - Call her Rags to Riches light.

Dashes N Dots, a 3-year-old filly, was one of seven horses entered Wednesday in the Round Table Stakes, a $100,000 race at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack on Saturday. The other six horses in the Round Table are males - a fact that does not necessarily disturb Greg Fox, who trains Dashes N Dots for a three-man partnership.

"It's that big idea of a filly against colts," Fox said. "I've never tried it, but it'd be interesting to see."

Dominican, whose 3-for-3 Polytrack record includes a win in the Grade 1 Blue Grass, heads the Round Table. Also entered were Snowblind Friend, Pavarotti, Mandurah, Time Squared, and Prom Shoes.

Dominican hasn't started since finishing 11th in the Kentucky Derby, and must carry 123 pounds compared to just 111 for Dashes N Dots. Fox said his filly would be getting at least five pounds from all the other horses, and that there are other reasons the Round Table, while unconventional, might be a logical spot. First, Dashes N Dots's people have as a goal the Arlington Oaks here next month, and the Round Table would give the filly a prep under nearly identical conditions.

"We were kind of working backwards to see what might fit as an interim race," Fox said.

Also, Fox said, Dashes N Dots "obviously loves Polytrack," having won a Turfway maiden race this past spring by almost 15 lengths in her only start over an all-weather track. Since then, Dashes N Dots has kept to turf, easily winning a Churchill grass allowance race before finishing third in the Grade 3 Regret. There, Dashes N Dots, a front-running sort, set a fast pace before being passed late, beaten only a neck for second.

Like Rags to Riches, Dashes N Dots, by the young sire Aptitude, works against the stereotype of a heavy, strapping, colt-like filly capable of standing up to the other sex.

"You'd be surprised to see her," said Fox. "She's not a really big filly, but she's an extremely athletic filly, dominant, with a lot of class, and she's been a really sound horse since I've got her."

Snowblind Friend can light the board

The trainer Hugh Robertson will start Snowblind Friend in the Round Table, and even if the horse is a longshot, do not dismiss his chances based on odds. Snowblind Friend was 43-1 when he won an entry-level allowance race early this meet, and he was a generous 5-1 winning the local Round Table prep when facing only five rivals.

"I don't know if he's that kind of horse, but we'll see," Robertson said.

Snowblind Friend is far from the only horse of note in the Robertson barn. Another 3-year-old, Lovango - trained by Roberton's son Mac, but housed in Robertson's shed row - is passing the Round Table in favor of the American Derby next weekend. Lovango was second in the first leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple, the Arlington Classic.

Still another 3-year-old, Mr. Soul, won't see action for at least a few months despite posting an impressive allowance-race victory here earlier this month. Robertson added blinkers to Mr. Soul, and the equipment change "improved him quite a lot," said Robertson, who also owns the colt. Mr. Soul trained all through the winter and was busy at the Oaklawn meet, and since Robertson thinks Mr. Soul could be a nice 4-year-old, his plan is to give him a break now.

Also working this week were Celluloid Hero, who won a stakes-class allowance last month and has no specific target race, and Three Hour Nap, who now has breezed twice in his attempt to come back from a fractured leg suffered in a race last summer at Arlington.

"He's been training good, working on his own under restraint with a gallop boy, and coming back good," Robertson said.

Weld to invade American Derby

The Irish trainer Dermot Weld has won the American Derby three of the last seven years, and he will have a chance to add another in 2007. Arlington racing officials expect Weld to come for this year's race with a horse named Perfect Casting, who has won his last two starts overseas.

Trainer Bill Mott, however, also has had recent success in the race, having won the 2005 American Derby with Gun Salute and last year's race with Union Avenue. Mott, too, has a prospective starter for the race in Lattice.

Pleasant Strike, sharp winner of the Arlington Classic last out, also is expected to return for the American Derby, part of Million Preview Day here on July 21.