10/14/2002 11:00PM

Moonlight Sonata won't go in Cup


CHICAGO - While the winner of the Arlington-Washington Futurity, Most Feared, trains here toward a start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Moonlight Sonata, winner of the Arlington-Washington Lassie, no longer is being considered for the Juvenile Fillies. Her trainer, the Kentucky-based Bill Helmbrecht, said Moonlight Sonata would instead make her next start in the Oct. 26 Green River, a turf stakes at Keeneland.

"As long as all the big ones are going over there, maybe we can slip under a little," Helmbrecht said.

Moonlight Sonata finished second in the Bassinet Stakes at River Downs but still was a maiden going into the Lassie, where she paid $122.60 to win. Her connections tried the Lassie because they felt Moonlight Sonata would improve in races beyond sprint distances, and that is where Helmbrecht's focus is now.

"We're going to try and let the filly mature around two turns right now," he said. "She's training great. Hopefully, we can have a nice 3-year-old."

Char's Bob'n Robin wheels back

The name Zook grabs your attention simply because there just aren't that many "Z" words floating around out there. Arlington players are advised to pay attention for other reasons. The Fairmount Park-based trainer Jimmy Zook has sent only a handful of horses to race at Arlington, but with two wins and a second from five starters, he is sending them here for more than just practice.

Run Willa Run won a statebred maiden turf race Saturday. Zook's other winner was Char's Bob'n Robin, who races again Thursday in Arlington's featured eighth race, a second-level, one-mile allowance for Illinois-bred horses.

The 18-1 odds Char's Bob'n Robin offered in his first Arlington start are long gone. With a strong second-place finish at this class level and a second in a $35,000 Fairmount Stakes 16 days ago, Char's Bob'n Robin should be favored Thursday.

This will be the colt's fourth start in five weeks, and the busy schedule gives skeptics a toehold: Char's Bob'n Robin, it could be argued, is ripe for regression after four strong races in a row. Maybe, but he made a highly positive visual impression when he finished second here Sept. 26, and Garesche, the horse who beat him that day, is one of the faster statebred dirt milers to have run in restricted allowances at this meet.

The others to watch Friday are Western Thunder, Chess Game, and Grandpa Red. Western Thunder finished three lengths behind Char's Bob'n Robin in his last race, but his form may still be on the upswing. Chess Game won his first start beyond a sprint by more than three lengths when he captured a mile allowance race here Sept. 18, while Grandpa Red return to a more favorable trip after winning a weak first-level allowance at 1 1/8 miles in his most recent start.

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