05/25/2009 11:00PM

Kimbo giving Gabriel barn a boost


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It's not like trainer Bettye Gabriel never had won with a first-time starter before. Well, almost not like that. From 80 first-timers sent out in her career, Gabriel has three winners, and the most recent of them, Kimbo, swings back into action in the featured ninth race on Thursday at Arlington Park.

Gabriel, a veteran on the Midwest circuit, has won only four races of any sort since the start of 2007, and so far this year, she has sent out only five runners. So, it is fair to say that Kimbo was more than a little warm on the tote board in his career debut last Nov. 14 at Hawthorne. Kimbo went off at odds of about 8-5 in an open maiden special weight dirt sprint, and made his many backers happy, winning by three lengths.

Off the rest of the winter and much of the spring, Kimbo made his debut win stand up in his comeback start here May 3, rallying wide into a slow pace for a very decent third. Thursday, back in another six-furlong sprint, Kimbo races on Lasix for the first time, and runs 12 days after posting a bullet 58.60-second five-furlong work over the Arlington Polytrack. He easily could give Gabriel, who co-owns the 3-year-old filly with Michael Sandlass, her first victory of 2009.

The featured ninth, at six furlongs, is open to entry-level allowance runners or $50,000 claimers, and despite being eligible for the allowance condition, Robin My Girl is entered for the tag. That seems noteworthy, since Robin My Girl was so sharp scoring a blowout win over $32,500 3-year-old claiming fillies here May 7. Robin My Girl, however, was purchased for just $11,000, and perhaps her connections would be happy enough selling her for 50-grand since the filly already has earned more than $65,000 even before Thursday's race.

The owner Maggi Moss regularly claims horses for such a price. She did so, in fact, when she took Trippi Dippedy Dot out of a win April 8 at Keeneland. Noteworthy here is the fact that Moss and trainer Tom Amoss run four-time winner Trippi Dippedy Dot back under the allowance conditions.

Trainer Don Von Hemel has two fillies entered under the $50,000 claiming option: Mrs Cindy's Walkin, two-time Arlington winner who had trouble when a close fourth at this class level on May 3, and Bootprints, who won her first two starts last season in Chicago, but failed to run to that form in three races over the winter at Oaklawn Park.