07/11/2007 11:00PM

Dominican dominant - on paper


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Since Dominican won the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, and since he beat Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense there, he should be solidly favored Saturday to win the Round Table, a $100,000 stakes at 1o1/8 miles on Arlington Park.

But any horseplayer knows that favoritism plus a logical advantage on paper equals, well, nothing, at least not until a horse actually goes out and makes manifest the edge he holds in peoples' minds. That's exactly the deal with Dominican on Saturday, and there are other potentially more lucrative ways to go in the Round Table.

Which is no knock on Dominican, who got knocked around pretty good on the way to an 11th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby three weeks after his nose victory at 8-1 in the Blue Grass. Trainer Darrin Miller said he sent Dominican to a farm for a month to recuperate; he likes the freshened model that comes to Arlington from Miller's Churchill Downs base this weekend.

"He's doing well, and we're looking forward to getting him back to the races," Miller said.

Dominican is 3 for 3 on Polytrack, but three others in the Round Table also are unbeaten on the synthetic racing surface. Snowblind Friend has won twice this meet, badly overlooked at 43-1 in an entry-level allowance win May 20, and a square 5-1 when he got up by a neck in the June 24 Native Dancer, a 1 1/16-mile Round Table prep.

"I don't think the extra sixteenth will bother him any," said trainer Hugh Robertson.

Dashes N Dots, a filly, won her lone Polytrack start by nearly 15 lengths and figures to go straight to the front if her connections follow through and start her Saturday.

"She's been a very, very consistent filly, and she's doing very well," said trainer Greg Fox, for whom Dashes N Dots has won 2 of her last 4 starts.

Mandurah also should be forwardly placed, and though he rode a speed bias to a blowout allowance win over 1 1/8 miles last out at Arlington, Mandurah has the look of an improving, dangerous colt.

Prom Shoes regressed last out in the Northern Dancer at Churchill after almost upsetting the Peter Pan at Belmont on May 20. Time Squared was sixth in the Blue Grass, but may be better now. And what would a stakes race be without trainer Todd Pletcher, who starts Pavarotti, a $2.5 million sales purchase who has yet to live up to his price tag but appears to be getting better.