06/24/2010 11:00PM

Good distance for Chamberlain Bridge


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. − Six horses were entered in the $125,000 Arlington Sprint here Saturday, and Euroears isn't coming, so just five remain, and two appear to stand out. But for a two-horse race, the Arlington Sprint isn't bad.

Chamberlain Bridge finished second in the 2009 Arlington Sprint and has been one of the better turf sprinters for three seasons. New to the turf-sprinting game is Sacred Journey, but his second-place finish to talented Central City in the Turf Sprint on May 14 at Pimlico suggested he, too, can be a force in the division.

The 5 1/2-furlong Arlington Sprint is a Breeders' Cup Challenge race, meaning the winner gains an automatic berth, pending payment of entry fees, in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. When the Breeders' Cup was at Santa Anita the previous two years, the Turf Sprint was contested at 6 1/2 furlongs on a peculiar downhill course. This year, the race will be run over five-eighths at Churchill Downs, and it is right in the wheelhouse of Chamberlain Bridge.

Chamberlain Bridge has won 10 of his 20 starts at five or 5 1/2 furlongs and has shown his best over the Churchill course, on which he finished a close, closing second in the Grade 3 Turf Sprint on April 30.

"I thought he should've won his last race at Churchill," trainer Bret Calhoun said. "A horse bolted in front of him."

Calhoun and owner Carl Moore elected to pass the Turf Sprint at Pimlico and would have started Chamberlain Bridge on May 26 in a turf-sprint stakes at Indiana Downs, but that race failed to fill, and now Chamberlain Bridge races for the first time since April 30.

Chamberlain Bridge will have to be on his game to handle Sacred Journey, who shaded 12 seconds for his final furlong when a promising second last month at Pimlico in his 2010 debut.

"We were happy," trainer Tony Dutrow said. "We did lose the race, but I think our horse proved that he was a contender."

Dutrow, who got away with running Sacred Journey in a $30,000 claimer last July, said he targeted a turf campaign for Sacred Journey during a winter break.

"I saw that he was out of a Storm Cat mare, and I thought that turf needed to be explored," Dutrow said. "We took him to the Palm Meadows training center, where we had access to turf, and he took to it very, very good. We set up a series of races that would get him to the Breeders' Cup."

Next stop - Arlington.