Updated on 09/15/2011 2:14PM

Puzzle's not hard: Bet 'Conundrum'


CHICAGO - The puzzle presented in Curious Conundrum's form may not be so hard to assemble after all. The fact that she suffered a bad loss in her last start is dwarfed by the fact that she moves from a pair of graded stakes into a soft-looking second-level allowance race. When the pieces finally fit together, Curious Conundrum looks like the horse to beat in Arlington's Wednesday feature.

A Harlan filly owned by the My Jo Lee Stable of Robert Firth and trained by Gene Brajczewski, Curious Conundrum exits a 14-length loss less than two weeks ago in the Grade 3 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks. But she might not have cared for a sloppy Hoosier Park racetrack that night, and when Curious Conundrum, a longshot under favorable circumstances, wound up contesting a fast pace from an inside post, she lost all chance.

Her two previous starts need no such excuses. She tried turf here in the Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes and ran well, finishing a close fifth behind Snow Dance, who legitimated her class with a good third last weekend in a Grade 1 stakes. And before that, Curious Conundrum upset the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Oaks at 33-1, beating a filly named Momentous, who returned to win at Keeneland last week.

Zoe Cadman, in the process of coming out of her late-summer slump, has ridden the filly in her best races and has a call on Thursday. Curious Conundrum has tactical speed and should be placed close to the pace in this race at about 1 1/16 miles.

Her most obvious rival, The Real Jewel, possesses similar tactical speed, and also comes out of a stakes try, a fourth-place finish in the Lyrique Handicap at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 2. The Real Jewel came to hand this summer for trainer Steve Asmussen and was a five-length winner of an Aug. 2 allowance race. She recently shipped into Asmussen's Arlington string and put in a solid five-furlong work over the track on Oct. 9. Leading jockey Rene Douglas has a call.

Publication Breeders' Cup-bound

Owner Larry Washington said Monday that the Arlington-Washington Futurity winner Publication will head to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont.

Publication is trained by Northern California-based Terry Knight, but has been stabled at Jerry Hollendorfer's Arlington barn since the week of the Futurity, which he won by a neck.

Knight said Publication will have a six-furlong breeze Tuesday.

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