11/09/2006 12:00AM

Janks barn prepared for big day


CHICAGO - The Christine Janks barn is known more as an Arlington outfit than one for Hawthorne, and 2006 provided no exception, with Janks especially strong over the summer in Chicago's northwest suburbs - Arlington country. But if you had to pick one trainer with a shot at a huge day on Saturday at Hawthorne - the site of six $100,000 stakes for Illinois-breds - it probably would be Janks.

Janks has unbeaten Chillin Villain for the Sun Power, a 2-year-old sprint stakes that seems unusually deep this season; an entrant for both older-horse sprint stakes, Pretty Jenny for the Powerless Handicap, High Expectations for the Lightning Jet Handicap; and Stop a Train in the Illini Princess, a route race for older females. Janks may be absent runners in the Showtime Deb and High Alexander, but four out of six ain't bad.

Chillin Villain, a Good and Tough gelding co-bred and co-owned by Janks's Carson Springs Farm, debuted with a solid Arlington win over a so-so field of Illinois-bred maidens at Arlington. It was his second race, a game Hawthorne win in an open entry-level allowance sprint, that stamped him as either significantly above average, unusually precocious, or both. Chillin Villain has won dueling for the lead and rating behind dueling leaders, and has breezed with vigor since his most recent race.

But with rivals like Caruso, also unbeaten after two races, and promising one-start maiden winners like I Got a Dream, Mare's Ex, and Sailfin, Chillin Villain is no cinch. Caruso posted a six-length debut win July 15 at Arlington for trainer Richard Hazelton, who sat on Caruso until September, then took him to Fairmount Park, where Caruso won the $40,000 Troy's Our Boy by more than nine lengths. Caruso paid at 5-1 that day, which suggests he was far from the only decent animal there.

"I think he's a good one, but he's got to prove it yet," said trainer Richard Hazelton, ever skeptical with his 2-year-olds.

"He acts like he'll do anything," Hazelton continued "He was a little bonko to break, and he was a little on the skittish side - still is - but he just has been real professional in his races."

Lightning Jet: Familiar pair

The old standbys in the Illinois-bred sprint stakes division are out: There is no Silver Bid or Take Achance on Me in this year's Lightning Jet Handicap. You could say Janks-trained 4-year-old High Expectations is their logical successor, but High Expectations isn't even a pure sprinter. Still, though High Expectations has raced a mile and farther as much as he has gone short, he seems to have gotten into a rhythm as a one-run sprinter, with victories in his last three races at seven furlongs and shorter.

High Expectations, however, relies on a solid early pace, which was provided in those three wins but is no slam-dunk Saturday. Jimmy's Boy is sure to show speed, but if no other horse forces the issue the front-enders might not be flying early. High Expectations ran past everybody in an Oct. 9 Hawthorne allowance race, but with softer splits, pace-pressers like Iron Rogue or Alabama Clay - even Jimmy's Boy himself - might have more left in the tank.

Illini Princess: Blasi has two

Subbing for suspended Steve Asmussen, Scott Blasi operates one of the most powerful stables in the country. Roy Houghton, on the other hand, keeps no more than a handful of horses throughout the year in Chicago. They are disparate outfits, but both have contenders in the Illini Princess for older females at 1 1/16 miles.

Blasi will start Dyna Slam and Rolling Sea, both of whom have recently tackled open stakes company, while Houghton counters with Unreal Rocket, a filly who seems to have improved with every race this season. Unreal Rocket has talent sprinting, but has adapted to two-turn racing as well, scoring a good open allowance win on the Hawthorne dirt in her most recent race.

The Illini Princess also attracted Stop a Train, third last month in a Keeneland allowance race.

Powerless: Bluesbdancing a threat

Pretty Jenny, the Janks filly for the six-furlong Powerless, has come from behind to win sprint races, but also can show speed when needed. Moreover, Pretty Jenny proved when she sharply won an Oct. 6 allowance race that she can race just as effectively over the Hawthorne surface as she does at Arlington.

Pretty Jenny has two main rivals in the Powerless: Bluesbdancing and Taylor Madison. Bluesbdancing is proven at the class level, while Taylor Madison is trying to make her mark outside 3-year-old-restricted company. Bluesbdancing has beaten Pretty Jenny on several occasions, and her sixth-place finish over Keeneland's Polytrack in the Oct. 14 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes might have served as a useful Powerless prep.

* It's mostly maiden winners in the six-furlong Showtime Deb for 2-year-old fillies, though Magnetic Miss and Tak's Wish have both notched multiple victories this season.