09/16/2008 11:00PM

Proctor rides hot streak into sprint


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Okay, so Reggie Jackson corralled the "Mr. October" moniker in the 1970s, but could we anoint Tom Proctor as "Mr. September" this year at Arlington Park?

The Proctor string at Arlington went 3 for 14 in June, 4 for 26 in July, and a quiet 1 for 24 in August, but since Sept. 1, Proctor horses have been parading in and out of the winner's circle like nobody's business. Through Sunday's racing, the Proctor barn had gone 7 for 15 in September.

"It looked to me like this barn would have winners in it, but it didn't come together right away," Proctor said Wednesday. "It just happened later rather than sooner."

Among the September victories was Closeout's win in the Grade 3 Pucker Up on Sept. 6. Closeout is one of two good-looking 3-year-old fillies Proctor has brought along this season, and the other one, Sly Storm, figures to be heavily favored to win the featured ninth race Friday at Arlington. The race is carded for about five furlongs on grass for third-level allowance horses or $62,500 claimers. It drew a field of just six.

Sly Storm has won 3 of 5 career starts, but enters the Friday feature off her worst performance by far, a last-place finish among six horses in the Grade 3 Victory Ride at Saratoga.

"I thought the jock kind of took her out of the race early, and it looked she might not have handled the track at all," Proctor said. "I really thought she'd run good, but she didn't."

Sly Storm shipped into Arlington not long after the Aug. 23 Victory Ride and has breezed twice here, most recently drilling a half-mile in a bullet 46.60 seconds on Sept. 13. By Storm Cat out of the Broad Brush mare Brushed Halory, Sly Storm won her career debut by almost five lengths on Keeneland's Polytrack this past April and has two more good wins on dirt. She's bred to succeed in her turf debut, and Proctor said he has no qualms about trying turf.

"I think she'll handle running down a rocky road, this one," Proctor said.

Competition could come from Grand Obsession, who impressively won a Churchill allowance race the last time she tried grass; Miss Greenly, stakes-placed in a turf sprint; and Unreal Rocket, who won a turf-sprint claimer last out at Woodbine.