08/21/2008 11:00PM

Pletcher loaded for juvenile stakes


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Two-year-olds? Todd Pletcher does that. Stakes races? Pletcher sends out scores in those each year, too. So, no surprise then, that the Pletcher string at Arlington Park will be well represented in the two stakes races for juveniles here next month.

For the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie on Sept. 6, Pletcher will send out a three-headed monster, the trio of Phola, Pride, and Quite the Lady. Phola debuted in a one-turn mile here Aug. 2 and won by almost five lengths, making a nice stretch run after rating just off the pace. Pride, a Keeneland maiden winner in the spring, finished second in an Aug. 6 allowance race here and was followed home by Quite the Lady, who won at first asking at Arlington and had a difficult trip in the allowance race earlier this month.

Pletcher said this week that he has only one colt for the Aug. 13 Arlington-Washington Futurity, but that one may turn out to be plenty. Advice won his maiden on July 3 and has not raced since, but the break has come by design, and Advice was so impressive in his lone start that he's almost certain to command respect in the Futurity. Making his debut in the first 2-year-old maiden race of the meet, Advice, a son of Chapel Royal owned by WinStar Farm, raced fifth down the Arlington backstretch but swooped to the front coming off the turn and won by eight lengths. Advice has worked five times since, and his five-furlong breeze Aug. 17 was the fastest among 47 at the distance that morning.

"He's doing very well, but I wish the Futurity were coming up sooner," Pletcher said. "Hopefully, we haven't gone over the top waiting, but we didn't feel like shipping anywhere for a shorter race, so we're sticking to our original plan."

Young jockey Riggs enjoys three-win day

Three wins in one days isn't the be-all, end-all for a jockey, but when you have ridden 10 winners in 3 1/2 months and there were only eight races on the day's card, well, that is something a little more meaningful.

Such was the case with the 19-year-old jockey Tanner Riggs here Thursday afternoon. Sitting on 10 wins for the meet going into the day, Riggs came out of it with 13 for the meet, with a little help from the Arlington stewards. Riggs won race 3 with A.J.'s Conquest ($19), race 4 with Grayston ($6.20), and crossed the wire second in race 5 with Cool C Note ($11.40), only to be placed first when the winner, Copper Forest, was disqualified to last.

"Yeah, it was a pretty good feeling," Riggs said Friday afternoon.

Riggs came to Chicago last fall and impressed locals with his work ethic, kind personality, and his skills. He had a solid fall-winter meet and wound up third in the Hawthorne standings this spring, but - no surprise - his first summer at Arlington has been much more of a struggle. At Canterbury Park, where Riggs had previously summered, he would find himself on live horses every day, now he is lucky to be on one live one a week.

"It's been discouraging at times, and I've missed being at what was more like my home track," Riggs said. "But I decided to stick it out. Being here, it gives you more opportunities to find some better horses."

And, riding the meet at Arlington, Riggs has held steady with a core group of Illinois horsemen - a group likely to start putting him on more winners once the action shifts back to Hawthorne next month.

Feature poses handicapping challenge

Nobody said it was going to be easy - and for handicappers, the featured ninth race here Sunday certainly is not.

An entry-level allowance carded at nine furlongs on turf, race 9 attracted 11 entries for turf, with Gun It entered main-track-only. Don'twait Toolong figures to be favored, but that hasn't gotten him home in his last two races. With 1 win and 8 seconds from 17 career starts, Don'twait Toolong is a horse to be played "under" in exotic bets and left out of the win slot.

The pick at a better price is Storming Marine, who finished fourth behind Don'twait Toolong at 17-1 last time out, but may be better suited to this longer distance than the likely favorite.