07/13/2009 11:00PM

Just Julian the sharp horse at Arlington


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - A mid-week allowance race with a full field that includes graded stakes winners - that's pretty nice. Arlington Park's featured eighth race Thursday is all that and more. Included in the 10-horse main body of the race are Recapturetheglory, who won the Grade 2 Illinois Derby in May 2008, and Wicked Style, who won the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity in October 2007.

Put aside past accomplishment, though, and a handicapper might easily find himself landing on Just Julian, who was claimed for a mere $25,000 on April 9 at Keeneland.

Now owned by Darrell and Evelyn Yates, Just Julian won a second-level Polytrack allowance off the claim here May 2; won a $50,000 turf claimer on May 29; and was beaten a head under high-level conditions in an off-the-turf allowance on June 21. Moreover, Just Julian's near-bullet half-mile drill in 47 seconds July 6 opens a window into his current physical condition.

"I don't know the form of the race that well, but I know how my horse is doing - lights out," said trainer Wayne Catalano.

Just Julian's claim price was a far cry from the $1.6 million the son of Gone West fetched at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2005.

"I got him at a little discount," Catalano said. "He's a super little horse. He looks like they gave that much for him."

Field size for the Thursday feature, which is carded at one mile on grass and has a $62,500 claiming option, is limited to 10 because the inner turf rail will be placed so far out on the course. Front-runners often do well under such a configuration, and Just Julian has the tactical speed to at least stay close.

Possible early leaders are General Charley, who just edged Just Julian, and Recapturetheglory, who led all the way in his Illinois Derby victory. Scratched from Saturday's Arlington Handicap, Recapturetheglory drew the rail and will be ridden by E.T. Baird, who often makes the most of his mount's early foot.

Wicked Style, who also won the 2007 Arlington-Washington Futurity, went on a 17-month winless streak after his Breeders' Futurity score. He scored a 35-1 upset over the Gulfstream grass course in March, and like several here, handles synthetic and turf surfaces.

Graded stakes-placed Corrupt has moved from Kentucky to the Arlington barn of trainer Chris Block for this start.