08/27/2009 11:00PM

His Greatness not always dependable


Sift through the past-performance lines of His Greatness and you will come away fairly impressed. The colt has lined up against some of the more accomplished 3-year-olds of 2009, including Pioneerof the Nile, Musket Man, Soul Warrior, Advice, Terrain, Win Willy, Old Fashioned, Square Eddie, and Awesome Rhythm, so there's little doubt he will be taking a class drop when he starts in the richest of nine Sunday races at Arlington Park.

Trouble is, His Greatness has been erratic enough in 11 career races that victory against five older rivals in the third race Sunday is not assured. Sure, he fits the second-level allowance conditions nicely, having competed primarily in stakes, and he would be very difficult to beat if he can revert to the form that took him to an allowance win at Oaklawn, a third-place finish in the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne, a third-place finish in the Marine Stakes at Woodbine, and, most recently, a runner-up finish in the Forward Pass on the Aug. 8 Arlington Million undercard.

But the occasional clunker dots his form, and trainer Marco Salazar said those subpar efforts might have come because "sometimes he chokes when the jockey tries to hold him back too much."

"He's just a free runner," Salazar said. "Let him do his thing and he will kick at the end."

Salazar, who trains His Greatness for the In His Favor Stable of Michael Kostich, said the colt "has been training awesome" since his last start. "This looks like a very good spot for him," he added.

His Greatness will be ridden by Junior Alvarado, the leading rider at the Arlington meet, when they break from post 5 in the third race, a $44,200, second-level allowance at seven furlongs on the Polytrack. His top effort would seem more than sufficient, although if he fails to bring it, Apache Honor and Cuban Missile figure first in line for the minor upset.

One other seven-furlong Poly allowance (race 8) also is on tap for Sunday. Restricted to 3-year-olds, it will be worth as much as $41,480, governed by a first-level allowance condition and $50,000 claiming option. Either half of an uncoupled Dale Bennett duo - Upsell or Monty Cat - appears capable in the field of six. Interestingly, both were claimed from winning last outs off leading trainer Wayne Catalano.