08/05/2010 4:16PM

Pace could separate Janks duo

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – If it is trainer Christine Janks’s wish to tie Arlington handicappers’ brains in knots, then well done, Ms. Janks, well done.

Janks has two horses entered here Saturday in the co-featured race 8, a second-level, turf-route allowance also open to $40,000 claimers. Pathway just won a turf race July 18 at this class level, racing under allowance conditions, but on Saturday, Janks starts Pathway for the $40,000 claiming option. My Cousin Pepi finished third in the race Pathway won, racing under the $40,000 claiming options that day, but on Saturday, Janks did not enter My Cousin Pepi for a tag. Go figure.

The path to success in race 8 might well pass through the Janks runners, but the key to separating them has more to do with pace than the nature of their entry into the feature.

My Cousin Pepi could be the controlling speed this time, and she is a dangerous horse when left to her own devices on the Arlington turf course. My Cousin Pepi has won four times in a 21-start career, and all four wins have come on the local lawn. Two races ago, she and jockey Mike Baze opened a big early lead in a $25,000 turf claimer and sailed home by six lengths.

Things won’t be as easy in this higher-class race, but My Cousin Pepi should have a much better time of things than she did in the Pathway win, where she tracked fast fractions and went evenly in the stretch.

Pathway, meanwhile, turned in something like a career-best performance in the last-out win, and she and runner-up Napoleon’s Retreat benefited from the fast pace that compromised My Cousin Pepi. Of the two, Napoleon’s Retreat, a two-time winner in five Arlington turf tries, seems more likely to repeat her effort.

And do not discount Cave Creeker, who climbs the class ladder after a comfortable entry-level allowance victory here July 1. Cave Creeker has since posted two sharp works for trainer Louie Roussel and looks like a 3-year-old filly on the rise.

Race 4 also is for second-level allowance horses and $40,000 claimers, but this six-furlong Polytrack race drew a somewhat sub-par field of just six. Big Rushlet, slightly overmatched most of 2010, dropped to this class level in his last start to finish second, and he looks like the horse to beat at a short price.