05/27/2008 11:00PM

Feature race looks wide open


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - There is a $50,000 claiming option in the featured ninth race Friday at Arlington Park, and it seems noteworthy that the connections of Minimast and Command Sgt. Major are not exercising that option.

Both Minimast and Command Sgt. Major were entered under the 1 1/8-mile race's entry-level allowance condition, even though both were the subject of recent claims. That the people connected with the horses don't want to risk losing these animals for a tag is a fact those betting the race should consider.

This seems especially true of Minimast, who was haltered for just $15,000 on March 2 at Oaklawn Park. Second for a $25,000 tag in his first race for owners Richard and Karen Papiese and trainer Hector Magana, Minimast cleared the maiden ranks with a narrow win over next-out winner Acting Zippy in a maiden special weight race April 25 at Prairie Meadows. Minimast hasn't raced since, but after shipping to Arlington, he posted a five-furlong work in a bullet 58.60 seconds on May 18, a drill suggesting Minimast is ready to move forward in his synthetic-track debut.

Command Sgt. Major was claimed for $50,000 on April 13 at Keeneland, and he too came back with a solid performance, finishing third after setting the pace in a sloppy-track allowance race on May 8 at Churchill. Command Sgt. Major scored the only victory of his seven-start career on Polytrack and may appreciate getting back on a synthetic track.

Radius, a close fourth over soft turf here May 2, makes his synthetic-track debut for the Bill Mott barn and also looks like a contender in a tough-to-figure race.

Dreaming of Anna skips Nassau

Saturday's Nassau Stakes at Woodbine has been ruled out as a possible spot for Arlington-based champion filly Dreaming of Anna, with her connections now contemplating another trip to Colonial Downs, where Dreaming of Anna won the Virginia Oaks last summer.

While Dreaming of Anna remains under consideration for the June 7 Just a Game at Belmont, trainer Wayne Catalano said Wednesday that the June 21 All Along at Colonial has arisen as an appealing option. Catalano said the nine-furlong distance of the All Along could set Dreaming of Anna up nicely for a run in the 1 3/16-mile Beverly D. here Aug. 9.