07/14/2005 11:00PM

Fifteen Rounds a bit shaky on turf


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Three horses at Arlington Park have three wins at the meet. Christine Janks trains two of them.

High Expectations was scheduled to run Saturday, and the other three-win horse, Fifteen Rounds, goes Sunday in the $45,000 Smile Stakes.

appearance in this five-furlong turf race is somewhat surprising, since he started just two weeks ago, and Janks runs her horses with patience. But if she thinks he is ready to go, bettors should believe; Janks, second in the trainer standings, is 66-20-13-11 here.

The question, however, is whether Fifteen Rounds is as good on turf as on dirt. An extra-sharp dirt winner here July 3, Fifteen Rounds won his grass debut on June 18 in a $100,000 optional claimer. Fifteen Rounds races on or near the lead on dirt, but on turf he settled in sixth, came up the rail, and beat favored Parker Run by three-quarters of a length. He got over the grass well enough, but Fifteen Rounds might need more Sunday.

The Smile has plenty of grass talent, some proven, some budding. Count among the latter group , Casual Cat, and Chachacharlie, all of whom recently ran in entry-level turf-sprint allowances at Churchill. The performance of So Gifted, a conditioned-claimer his first two 2005 starts, was the most impressive. He won by seven lengths and was timed in 56.80 seconds for five furlongs, but might not reproduce the race under different conditions Sunday.

The 6-year-old comes off a second-level allowance turf-sprint score, also at Churchill. But Rapid Raj has gone 4-0-0-0 at Arlington, and like most of the others, risks battling on a hot early and middle pace.

The closer of interest is Lucky Pulpit, who in his 2005 debut finished third, beaten three lengths by Rapid Raj. Trainer Grant Forster said Lucky Pulpit "closed pretty good and galloped good" despite racing on a turf course the horse disliked.

"I expect if he handles the turf here, he will run well," Forster said.

Lucky Pulpit made the Santa Anita Derby last year, but finished seventh and wound up winless for the season. Forster just took over this year, and discovered a talented horse with some issues.

"He's a very tough horse to train. He's a stud horse, and he's very hard-headed," said Forster. "He will prop and stop. That's why he's a 4-year-old with so many gate works. I've found that's the best way to get him to do something."