10/02/2001 11:00PM

Distinctive Mr. B peaking now


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Arlington's Friday feature offers about everything you would want in a horse race - good horses, a full field, and a long list of legitimate contenders. But weather wet enough to move this turf sprint to the main track would change all that and further damage the program, since the co-featured sixth is also an allowance race on turf.

The feature, to be run at about five furlongs, is an allowance race with no conditions, which basically makes it stakes quality. A full field of 12 includes Distinctive Mr. B, who set a course record of 56.36 seconds at this distance on Sept. 15. For the second straight year Distinctive Mr. B has hit peak form at the tail end of Arlington's meet, about the only time this racetrack stages turf sprints, Distinctive Mr. B's specialty.

"We've got him right at the right time again," said David Hinsley, who trains the horse for owner Terrence Brown. "I just hope he's still peaking. He's run two powerful races now and I hope he doesn't go backward on me. He still acts right, and this race came up perfect for me."

Distinctive Mr. B., who runs on or near the lead, drew well in post seven. Miner's Gamble, another strong contender, did not, and must overcome post 12, a difficult spot with a short run to the turn. But Miner's Gamble, who's owned by Alan Drey and trained by Dennis Ebert, is also a turf-sprint specialist, having gone 3 for 3 in grass sprints during the summer of 2000, the last time he ran in such races.

Tic N Tin, who nearly upset Bet On Sunshine in the Arlington Sprint Handicap in late August, is in peak form right now, but failed to hit the board in two previous turf tries.

In the sixth race, a third-level route allowance for fillies and mares, Sabathani, close in three recent tries at this class level, faces a slightly easier field this time and is the horse to beat.

Douglas staying put

While several top local riders have left for a more glamorous October at Keeneland, jockey Rene Douglas plans to remain at Arlington for the remainder of this meet, his agent Dennis Cooper said. Cooper has several stakes mounts lined up for Douglas over the course of the Keeneland meet, including Unbridled Elaine in this weekend's Grade 1 Spinster, but Douglas will remain based at Arlington.

Douglas, who decided to ride here only days before this meet began in mid-June, is the overwhelming leader in the jockey's race. Through last week he'd won 106 races, 40 more than Robby Albarado, who has left the meet, and 63 more than Randy Meier, his closest active pursuer.

Cooper said he and Douglas plan to spend the winter in Florida, riding at Calder and Gulfstream.

Asher joins Matron field

The prospective field for Saturday's Arlington Matron Handicap has gotten a boost with the news that Asher will ship here to contest the race. Asher was badly beaten in her last start, the Sept. 22 Turfway Park Breeders' Cup Handicap, but the loss came with an excuse, and in part because the filly is a Grade 2 winner, she was assigned 116 pounds, the third-highest weight, in the Matron. Trainer Ron Moquett said he has arranged for the Hoosier Park-based Sidney LeJeune to ride Asher.

Rose of Zollern, weighted at 118 pounds, is expected to be the starting highweight in the Matron. Humble Clerk is considered possible for the race, while Maltese Superb, Taste The Passion, Instinct, Adam's Time, and the 3-year-old Lakenheath are expected to run.