10/09/2006 11:00PM

High Expectations steps up for Janks


CHICAGO - Trainer Christine Janks has nothing going on Thursday at Hawthorne, but she won the stakes-class allowance feature here Monday and will have plenty of action away from Chicago this weekend.

Janks started the favorite, Fifteen Rounds, in Monday's featured eighth race, a six-furlong "money-since" allowance race with a $100,000 claiming option, but Fifteen Rounds continued the struggles that arose the latter part of the Arlington Park meet, finishing fifth. Instead it was High Expectations, a 5-1 shot trained by Janks, who rolled through the stretch from last place to win going away at the wire. High Expectations had never appeared as comfortable at Hawthorne as he had at Arlington, and the six-furlong trip on Monday seemed shorter than his best.

"I thought he didn't like to sprint," said Janks. "We all learn something."

High Expectations had a solid if unspectacular Arlington meet, and like Fifteen Rounds, his road got bumpy late in the season there.

"He'd had some problems at the end of Arlington, and we gave him a little break," said Janks. "If he hadn't run any better, he would've gone home for the year."

Instead, High Expectations will come back on Illinois Day on Nov. 12 and run six furlongs again, this time in the $100,000-added Lightning Jet. Fifteen Rounds may join Janks at her Florida farm, or try some as-yet-undetermined spot at Calder.

Janks already won a minor stakes race last month at Calder with Sunset Kisses, who ran for trainer Ron Spatz. Sunset Kisses and Nkosi Reigns both have been penciled into starting spots in Calder stakes this weekend, while Janks's Hawthorne string is making a serious incursion into Kentucky. Four horses are scheduled to ship to Keeneland later this week: Stop a Train and For Gillian race on Friday, Big Rushlet and Chic Dancer on Saturday. Chic Dancer is the star of the group, going in the $400,000 First Lady Stakes against the likes of Gorella.

Surplus of speed in allowance

There's no real feature on Thursday at Hawthorne - just a second-level Illinois-bred sprint allowance (race 8) with a surplus of pace horses. Indigo Ice, Exclusive Secret, and Weekend Rates all are front-end types who easily could conk each other out.

The beneficiary of a speed duel might turn out to be Xcellent Lisa, who has scored sharp wins over the Hawthorne surface. A bargain $1,000 sales purchase trained by Jim Gulick, Xcellent Lisa won twice here in the spring.