08/11/2005 11:00PM

New challenge for Illinois-bred


CHICAGO - High Expectations finished third in the $100,000 Round Table Stakes on July 16. He showed, however, that he could hang with open company, an open question after High Expectations rose to the top of the Illinois-bred 3-year-old class with a convincing win in the Springfield Stakes in late June.

But how will fare in an open allowance race against older horses, a race in which he may have to run down a loose-on-the-lead Iosilver?

Seven horses were entered in Sunday's featured eighth race, carded for 1 1/8 miles on dirt. For $50,000 claimers or third-level allowance horses, the Sunday feature would be classy enough on a typical weekend. Falling in the shadow of Saturday's triple Grade 1 International Festival of Racing, it may have the feel of an afterthought.

But there is still the last five weeks of the Arlington meet to account for, none of which will provide a suitable Illinois-bred stakes spot for High Expectations, who came to hand early this summer for trainer Christine Janks, winning his maiden and an entry-level allowance race before scoring by six lengths in the one-turn-mile Springfield. Devilment and Real Dandy were scheduled to run Saturday in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby, and those were the only two in front of High Expectations last out in the 1 1/8-mile Round Table. High Expectations has worked twice since then and is perfectly suited to winning the Sunday feature - unless he cannot catch up to Iosilver.

, a long-bodied 4-year-old gray gelding trained by Chris Block, made his last two starts on turf, finishing fifth and fourth. But this, it would seem, is no grass horse. What Iosilver really wants to do is gallop along on a lonely lead in dirt races of nine furlongs, maybe even more, and that is exactly the trip he and jockey Eddie Razo might get from post 2 in this spot. In an off-the-turf second-level allowance here May 22, Iosilver snuck off to a clear early lead and won by nine. The horses behind him that day weren't nearly as good as the ones he'll have to hold off this time, but the end result could be the same.

If not Iosilver or High Expectations, then surely Big Will, a towering gray horse who won a race at this class level by a half-length in his most recent start.