07/20/2009 11:00PM

Granitz's pair strong in turf sprint


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Veteran Chicago trainer Tony Granitz took down second and fourth place in the most recent Arlington Park entry-level turf-sprint allowance for males. In Thursday's featured eighth race, Granitz has a good chance to secure even more favorable results with the same two horses back in the same kind of race.

Granitz-trained Pirates Vow finished second at odds of 18-1 in a similar spot July 3, and Stormy Ballad was a close fourth at 4-1 that day. The pair is part of Thursday's featured race 8, a five-furlong grass dash that drew a field of nine, including a coupled Louie Roussel-trained entry of Mambo Galliano and Goaltogoal.

Despite coming off a career-best effort, Pirates Vow gets an equipment change, racing in blinkers for the first time.

"I've been training him in blinkers," Granitz said. "He's a funny horse - he likes to look around a lot."

After the July 3 race, Pirates Vow took the funny business a step too far, refusing to return to be unsaddled after his race had ended.

"It was that big crowd on July 3, and he wouldn't even come back that day," Granitz said. "My assistant had to go out there and get him. The rider [Jermaine Bridgmohan] suggested he could use blinkers, and I think the blinkers will help."

But Granitz seems to like the chances of Stormy Ballad even more, perhaps with good reason. Stormy Ballad has a habit of finishing second, with 6 places to 1 career win in 15 starts. But that lone win came in the $100,000 Lake Michigan Stakes, an Arlington turf sprint last summer, and Stormy Ballad had finished at least third in all his Arlington starts until the July 3 race. That day, he broke a touch slowly from the rail, got stuck down inside while racing farther behind than usual, and rallied mildly in the stretch.

"I think he's the horse to beat in there," Granitz said. "He'll run a much-improved race."

The Roussel horses have different riders named and different styles, and both figure to start. Goaltogoal should press the pace under Randy Meier, while Mambo Galliano, second sprinting on Polytack last out, will try to rally late.

My Man Moran just finished third in a fast Polytrack race at this class level, and his trainer, Jerry Quinn, ends a one-race blinkers-on experiment. My Man Moran is a mystery on turf but should like the short-sprint distance of Thursday's race.