09/02/2008 11:00PM

High-class sprinters get chance


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - This summer at Arlington Park, few opportunities have arisen for high-class main-track sprinters. There was a prep race for an Illinois-bred stakes early in the meet, but even less on the menu for horses not bred in Illinois.

"That's always the case, though," trainer Christine Janks said.

Friday, Arlington managed to get a high-end sprint allowance race to attract sufficient entries - thanks in great part to Janks and trainer Hugh Robertson, who both entered two horses in race 9, a six-furlong race that has a base fourth-level allowance condition and also is open to $80,000 claimers. Both Janks-trained horses, High Expectations and Mighty Rule, qualify for the spot since their Illinois-bred wins don't count against their eligibility to the race; both Robertson horses, City Number and Celluloid Hero, are entered under the claiming option.

Lack of opportunity has not been an issue for High Expectations, however. A top Illinois-bred one-turn horse for several years, High Expectations finished an uncharacteristically dull fifth in the June 21 White Oak Handicap and hasn't raced since.

"He's been sick all summer," Janks said. "He had to go to the farm for awhile and he's just coming back now. He really benefited from some rest and some green grass."

White Oak winner Mighty Rule has filled the main-track void by racing on turf; he finished fifth Aug. 23 in the $200,000 Arlington Sprint in his most recent race.

Celluloid Hero, meanwhile, has earned more than $217,000, making him wealthier than stablemate City Number. However, City Number has a thing for Arlington; in 7 races here, he has 5 wins, and City Number also is 3 for 5 on Polytrack. He won three races in a row here last summer, and despite a lack of recent racing activity and a 10th-place finish in his last start, the June 28 Iowa Sprint Handicap, City Number could prove formidable.

Last Gran Standing finished third in the White Oak, but his two starts since have come at Woodbine. He was a decent third in the Bold Venture Stakes on Polytrack, and his eighth-place finish last out came in the Play the King, a seven-furlong turf race to which Last Gran Standing was not especially suited.