08/29/2007 12:00AM

Riley Tucker among the inexperienced


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It was in 1967 that the Jimi Hendrix album "Are You Experienced" was released in the United Kingdom. So, okay, the album and song title probably didn't concern racehorses - but the question can be applied to Saturday's Arlington-Washington Futurity.

A field of eight was entered Wednesday in the Gradeo3, $200,000 Futurity; half the field is experienced, the other half not.

Experienced, that is, in the brave new world of synthetic-track racing.

Celina Slew, Texas Wildcatter, Wicked Style, and Sebastien County all have raced and won on Arlington's Polytrack. But T.J.'s Posse and Blackberry Road have not, and neither are Gold Coyote and Riley Tucker - the 2-year-olds most likely to be the top betting choices in the one-mile race - experienced.

Riley Tucker wound up being trainer Bill Mott's selection to start in the Futurity, even though Mott expressed some reservations this week about bringing Riley Tucker back only about two weeks after a fading third-place finish in the Saratoga Special. But Riley Tucker breezed a half-mile on Tuesday at Saratoga, and must have done it well enough for Mott to pull the trigger. Besides, the Mott barn is well stocked with sharp 2-year-old maiden winners, and there is the matter of keeping at least some of the stock separated in the coming weeks.

Gold Coyote, on the other hand, has been pointed at this spot for some weeks by trainer Bret Calhoun. A Texas-bred winner of three straight races, Gold Coyote shipped to Arlington from Remington Park on Aug. 20, and breezed over the Polytrack last Friday. Ramsey Zimmerman will be in to ride on Saturday.

Asi Siempre likely for Matron

The Grade 1-winning mare Asi Siempre is in all likelihood coming to Arlington for her next start, the Sept. 8 Arlington Matron, trainer Patrick Biancone said Wednesday afternoon. Asi Siempre is based with Biancone's major string at Keeneland, and will have a breeze next week that could cement her participation in Arlington's biggest race for older females.

"She works next Tuesday, and if she works well, she runs," Biancone said.

Asi Siempre hasn't started since July 15, when she finished sixth, beaten almost 20 lengths, in the Delaware Handicap, a stark reversal to otherwise excellent form. Asi Siempre had crossed the finish first or second in five consecutive starts - all graded stakes - before her decidedly subpar performance.

"Delaware is a special track," said Biancone. "Some horses don't like it, and she was not the only one that day. A longshot won, and a longshot finished second."

Asi Siempre has gone 2 for 2 on Polytrack, having won the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland last fall and the Doubledogdare there this past spring in her 2007 debut.

Dreaming of Anna works fast

Wayne Catalano didn't mince words describing the turf breeze Dreaming of Anna turned in Wednesday morning at Arlington.

"That was an awesome work," Catalano said.

Dreaming of Anna, doing her last major preparation for the Sept. 8 Pucker Up Stakes, had tentatively been scheduled to work in company with her 4-year-old full brother, Lewis Michael, but Catalano scrapped plans for a Polytrack team work, and instead had Dreaming of Anna breeze by herself on grass. With jockey Randy Meier up, she covered five furlongs over yielding going in 1:02, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.

"She finished up strong, she handled the soft turf," said Catalano. "It was all good."

Dreaming of Anna has won 4 of her 5 turf starts, her lone loss a half-length defeat during the winter to the good filly Audacious Chloe. She won the Virginia Oaks in her most recent start.

Ciao works for Pucker Up

Also working on grass Wednesday was Ciao, another hopeful for the Pucker Up. Ciao, an overnight stakes winner last year at 2, won in allowance company earlier this summer at Churchill, but ran poorly last time out in the Virginia Oaks. Ciao was scratched from her intended Pucker Up prep here because the race was rained off turf.

"She trains pretty aggressively, so it might work out okay," trainer Frank Kirby said.

Still, the situation with Ciao is nothing compared to what Cloudy's Knight has gone through this year. Now trained by Kirby, after being based with Jim McMullen over the winter at Fair Grounds, Cloudy's Knight finished a closing second on Sunday in the $300,000 Nijinsky Stakes at Woodbine, his third narrow loss in a rich turf race this year. In his previous start, Cloudy's Knight was beaten a nose in the Stars and Stripes Handicap here, and earlier in the year, he was second by a half-length in the $500,000 Mervin Muniz Handicap.

Kirby said Cloudy's Knight could return to Woodbine for the Sept. 23 Sky Classic Stakes.