06/23/2008 11:00PM

Forest Prince play probably lacks value


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The Todd Pletcher stable went 36 for 133 last year in its first season at Arlington Park, with six stakes wins, one graded stakes victory, and - for handicappers, the most essential stat - a $1.74 ROI. The return on investment here was significantly better than Team Pletcher's overall $1.57 in 2007, and it's fair to guess that his Arlington string, populated mainly with less-prized stock, often outperformed expectations.

But there has been a noteworthy shift so far in Arlington 2008. While Pletcher's overall ROI this year has risen to $1.65, and his Chicago string has compiled a solid 9-8-7 record from 41 starts, the local starters are rewarding their backers with smaller returns. So far this meet, the Pletcher ROI stands at just $1.39.

All of which does pertain to the featured seventh race on Thursday at Arlington, where the Pletcher-trained Forest Prince is likely to be favored in an entry-level Polytrack sprint allowance despite losing his most recent start by more than 18 lengths.

Forest Prince was one of seven horses entered in the six-furlong race, but is the only one to have gone hopping all over the country this year. He started 2008 in Southern California, where he cleared the maiden ranks in a Santa Anita down-the-hill turf sprint, then moved on to Keeneland, where ran third in a six-furlong Polytrack race, and finally traveled to New York, where he was drummed May 22 as the 2-1 favorite in a grass sprint run over a "good" course.

What went wrong that day is hard to say, but Forest Prince was back breezing - at Arlington now - on June 13, and last Friday his half-mile work in 47 seconds was fastest of 33 at the distance.

The overall form picture, plus bullet work, plus Rene Douglas riding figures to attract many bettors to Forest Prince, even if his barn's ROI seems skimpy. There are other options, however, with Papa and Seaview perhaps the most obvious of them. Papa was fifth last out on Churchill dirt, but won a maiden race and was a close third in entry-level allowance company over Keeneland's Polytrack in April. He is "blinkers on" for trainer Dallas Stewart, while Seaview, a pace factor and probably more, comes out of a second-place finish going 6 1/2 furlongs here June 5.

Archipenko pointed to Million

Archipenko, one of the better middle-distance grass horses in the world, is being pointed to the Arlington Million, Arlington publicity writer Graham Ross reported in his most recent edition of the Road to the Million.

Archipenko finished third of 16 in an excellent edition of the Dubai Duty Free on Dubai World Cup night, then went on to capture the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in April 27 at Sha Tin in Hong Kong.

Archipenko is scheduled to race in July at Ascot in England before his Million run. A 4-year-old Kingmambo colt from the same family as Nureyev, Archipenko floundered in Group 1 competition during 2007 while trained by Aidan O'Brien, but came to hand rapidly this past winter in Dubai. Archipenko is trained by Mike de Kock, who nearly won the Beverly D. with Irridescence last year.