06/03/2009 11:00PM

Nine-year-old Silverfoot's still got it

Email

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The Tin Man was 8 when he won the 2006 Arlington Million, striking a serious blow for the aged-racehorse set, so it's only fitting that old warrior Silverfoot launches his 9-year-old campaign Saturday at Arlington in the The Tin Man Stakes.

Guess, if you want, that Silverfoot will lose a step or two in 2009, but prepare to be corrected by owner-breeder Stephanie Clark's gray gelding. Silverfoot didn't race at all between November 2006 and January 2008, and, quite frankly, the horse looked diminished in his first two post-layoff starts two winters ago at Fair Grounds. But by the time he showed up at Arlington last summer, Silverfoot was back on his game. He won the Stars and Stripes Handicap by two lengths, and was beaten just over two lengths by Archipenko despite racing wide in the Arlington Million.

"He's a very cool horse," said trainer Dallas Stewart, who on Wednesday shipped Silverfoot from Churchill Downs, where the horse has posted five recent turf breezes, to Arlington, where he toured the main track Thursday morning.

Silverfoot is one of 10 entered in the $50,000 The Tin Man, which is carded for 1 1/8 miles on turf, and shares top billing here Saturday with the $50,000 Nicole's Dream for female turf sprinters. Silverfoot's work pattern is encouraging, and Stewart said the horse "is doing real well."

"Condition-wise he looks good, and we know he likes that course up there," said Stewart. "I feel good about him, but he could get beat coming off a layoff."

Stewart makes a good point. It took Silverfoot several starts to reach his best at age 8, and on Saturday, he'll have to overcome post 10. With perhaps three front-end types entered in The Tin Man, the pace figures at least honest, which is a plus for late-running Silverfoot. But horses with more recent contending form, like Telling, Tiger Woodman, and Valtrus, all might get first run on Silverfoot.

Telling finished second to Silverfoot in the Stars and Stripes (moved from July to September this Arlington meet), and has finished second in a pair of recent grass races comparable in quality to The Tin Man. Telling finished a neck in front of sharp Tiger Woodman here May 9 in the Chester House Stakes, while Valtrus is in from Churchill off a second-level turf allowance win for trainer Eddie Kenneally.

Pleasant Review will be coming

In the Nicole's Dream, carded for five furlongs on turf, Taletobetold looks like a deserving favorite, but she must avoid a taxing pace duel with other speed elements in the race, and could be vulnerable in deep stretch if a qualified stretch-runner shows up. And that horse could be Pleasant Review.

Pleasant Review has made her last four starts over Woodbine Polytrack, but appears to be a better horse on turf. She won well last September going 6 1/2 furlongs in a Woodbine entry-level allowance, then finished a clear second at one mile in a $102,000 stakes race there. Pleasant Review does have speed, but she figures to be outrun for the early lead going five furlongs, which could wind up being a good thing.

Goldinthepocket just won a turf-sprint for $35,000 claimers on this course, and does like Arlington, but she got away with a 23-second opening quarter-mile in that recent win, and should be forced to go much faster Saturday as a front-runner breaking from the rail.