07/08/2008 11:00PM

Late pick three hard to hit


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It might take a Ph.D. in handicapping to have any shot of hitting the last pick three on Friday at Arlington. Races 8 and 10 are for Illinois-bred turf allowance horses, race 9 for open allowance horses on Polytrack, but the common denominator here is massive amounts of horseflesh: Races 8 and 9 drew 12 entries, and race 10 has the 12-horse maximum plus one also-eligible.

Nic the Quick would look good in race 8, the first division of a split Illinois-bred entry-level allowance carded for one mile on turf, but he drew post 11, a tough spot with a short run into the first turn. First-time turfer Bill of Bills is by More Than Ready, and might have a chance.

Things look even more competitive in race 9, which is at six furlongs on Polytrack and restricted to females.

Trainer Neil Pessin said he feels B R's Girl, trained by Todd Pletcher, and the Bernie Flint-trained Cosmic Belle are the horses to beat. "But if my filly's what I think she is, she ought to be good enough to win."

Pessin trains Deville, who has not raced since February 2007, but showed promise in a trio of Fair Grounds starts before going to the sidelines.

"She had a bunch of little knick-knack things that set her back here and there," Pessin said. "Bruised feet, strained suspensory. We haven't missed anything of late with her."

Indeed, Deville shows encouraging works dating to late May, and turned in two six-furlong drills the latter part of June.

"She might not be 100 percent fit, but I feel like she's pretty fit and ready to go," said Pessin.

Trainer Brian Williamson doesn't really know what to think about his entrant in race 10, Eagle Hawk. Eagle Hawk looked good winning his maiden in a one-turn Polytrack mile here June 15, but this is a two-turn grass race, and Eagle Hawk - bred top and bottom to route on the turf - showed less in a pair of turf routes to start his career.

"I just kind of stuck him in there because there's not another Polytrack race until August," Williamson said. "He's supposed to be able to grass."

In Eagle Hawk's defense, he was green in his career debut, and he hit the gate while racing on soft turf in his second grass try. Maybe he will find his turf stride Friday - the final piece in an almost impossible pick-three puzzle.