07/27/2009 11:00PM

Load a Chronic remains tough at age 9


Lacking so much as an allowance race to work with, the Arlington Park racing office got a little creative in putting together a nine-race Thursday card.

The richest race of the afternoon, the seventh, carries quite unusual conditions. Using a sliding scale that uses a horse's claiming price to determine the amount of weight he must carry, the race conceivably could have enticed a horse carrying 136 pounds who would have been eligible to be claimed for $36,000, but nobody took that bait.

Instead, the about 1 1/8-mile turf race essentially boils down to an $18,000 claiming race, with some variations, and it looks like a good enough race. Load a Chronic, an old pro with more than $300,000 in career earnings, was assigned post 1 in a field of eight, and his recent form suggests he should be a top contender.

Based locally with trainer Manny Perez, Load a Chronic will be making the 64th start of a career that began on Aug. 21, 2002, when he was soundly beaten when ridden by apprentice Valerie Nagle in a maiden-claiming dirt sprint at Ellis Park. Since then, the 9-year-old gelding has proven useful while switching barns only three times, going into Perez's care following a nearly one-year layoff that ended in late March 2009. Turf has been his strength, with the vast majority of his bankroll having been amassed over that surface. In recent starts, Load a Chronic has been very competitive, including a runner-up finish in his last start July 4 at Arlington.

Other contenders in the nominal feature include Princeton Hills, Harbor Win, and Go to the Sun.

* The Thursday program at Arlington in Arlington Heights, Ill., also includes back-to-back starter-allowance races earlier on the card.

In the fourth race, a $15,640 Polytrack race at 1 1/16 miles, Big Bold Place will be looking to rebound off a subpar effort after reeling off three straight solid races to open his 7-year-old campaign. Supah Soup and Wayoff look like his main competitors in a field of seven.

* In the fifth race, a $24,480 five-furlong dash scheduled for turf, Ti Township looks like a solid favorite in a field of seven. He ships in from Lone Star Park for trainer Allen Milligan. Quincy Hamilton will be aboard when the 6-year-old gelding breaks from post 6 in search of his seventh victory from his last nine starts.

First post is 1 p.m. Central.