07/14/2010 12:00AM

Moojab offers intrigue in return


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - If you go by the book, a pair of second-level allowance races with $40,000 claiming options are co-featured on a nine-race card Thursday at Arlington Park. But the most intriguing prospect entered to race here Thursday is Moojab, one of seven horses in race 4, a first-level Polytrack sprint allowance also open to $25,000 claimers.

Moojab, a son of Smarty Jones, fetched a $200,000 bid as a weanling at the Keeneland November sale in 2007, and he wasted little time displaying his talents when unveiled by Shadwell Stable and trainer Dan Peitz last fall at Aqueduct. Moojab rallied from eighth and won his six-furlong career debut by four lengths, leaving second-place finisher Odysseus floundering in his wake.

Odysseus would go on to capture the Tampa Bay Derby over the winter, but Moojab failed to progress. Peitz brought him back Jan. 23 at Oaklawn, Moojab was bet to 4-5, but never looked like a winner, checking in an even third racing on a sloppy track. He has not been seen in a race since.

"I think we're doing okay with him," Peitz said. "He's been a little bit of a project with soundness issues."

Peitz has won eight races in his first summer stabled at Arlington, and he is good with layoff horses like Moojab: Four of Peitz's last 16 such starters have found the winner's circle for a whopping return on investment of $5.89. Moojab didn't post a published work during May, when he was nursing an abscess, but he drilled a bullet five furlongs in 59.60 seconds July 4. Moojab has at least two worthy rivals, City Number and Celluloid Hero, both experienced winners who are entered under the race's claiming option.

Race 8 is one of the second-level allowance races, this one carded for 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack, and also with a field of seven. The 3-year-old facing elders here is Call Shot, who showed talent from the start of his career last summer at Arlington. Call Shot ran poorly in the Lexington Stakes, and was scratched from a grass race here earlier in the meet, but he looked to be back on track when second of eight in a race at this class level June 20 for trainer Wayne Catalano.

In race 5, it is 3-year-old filly Bell's Shoes who makes her first start against older rivals. Bell's Shoes tried several middle-distance races earlier this year, but showed late-stretch spark when turned back to a sprint June 25 at Churchill, winning an age-restricted dirt race by more than three lengths.