08/14/2007 11:00PM

He Loves Me Not thrives on Polytrack


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Dallas Stewart does not have a string of horses based at Arlington Park this summer - which is too bad for a 4-year-old gelding named He Loves Me Not.

That's because He Loves Me Not, by all appearances, loves Polytrack, and to get what he loves, He Loves Me Not will ship in from Stewart's Churchill Downs base for the featured ninth race on Friday at Arlington.

He Loves Me Not was one of 10 horses entered in a second-level allowance race carded for seven furlongs on Polytrack, and he faces a familiar foe on Friday. That would be Mighty Rule, who finished a head in front of He Loves Me Not when the two squared off here on May 13.

Since then, He Loves Me Not has finished third and fourth in two blazingly fast sprints run over the Churchill Downs dirt, but dirt is not what He Loves Me Not does best. On fast tracks He Loves Me Not has gone 0 for 9, his lone dirt win having come on off going. But on Polytrack, He Loves Me Not has won 3 of 4 starts, his lone loss the third behind Mighty Rule at Arlington. He won twice at Keeneland, once at Turfway, and Friday's seven-furlong distance should suit He Loves Me Not, who does his best running late in his races.

On paper, the distance would appear to be a question for Mighty Rule, a 4-year-old Illinois-bred who has yet to race beyond six furlongs.

"I kind of think he will run farther," said trainer Christine Janks. "I think he just paces himself, but I could be wrong."

Mighty Rule actually won a race at the class level on May 13, and qualified to run back in second-level allowance races because his prior wins had come in statebred-restricted competition. Since the victory, Mighty Rule was third in a turf sprint run over yielding ground, and second in a pair of six-furlong Polytrack dashes.

Also deserving of attention is Ultimate Goal, who hasn't raced since he finished second to his stablemate High Cotton in the 2006 Sir Barton Stakes, held some 15 months ago at Pimlico. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Ultimate Goal impressively won a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park in his second start, so although he may eventually be more a route horse than a sprinter, Friday's seven-furlong trip might be within his scope.