Updated on 09/15/2011 12:37PM

Roussel: 'We're ready, that's it'


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Louie Roussel's sharp comeback horse Kris's Sleigh faces Reno Rumble, who regained his form a month ago, and seven other rivals in Arlington's Thursday feature. The allowance race, at about 1 1/16 miles on turf, offers an attractive $52,000 purse that has brought out a field of quality.

Kris's Sleigh has won three straight starts, but hasn't run since easily beating the graded stakes winner Williams News in a March 26 Fair Grounds allowance race. A 5-year-old horse by Kris S. whom Roussel claimed for $50,000 two years ago as a maiden, Kris's Sleigh loves the front end and loves turf, Arlington's especially. Kris's Sleigh, 6 for 13 lifetime won two races on this course last season.

He got a bit tired during a six-furlong turf work here last week, but Roussel offers no excuses and assistant trainer Lara Van Deren thinks Kris's Sleigh is fit enough to win. "We're ready and that's it," Roussel said.

Roussel said he planned on starting Kris's Sleigh in a small stakes race during the Hawthorne meet, but that the horse wasn't thriving physically.

"At Hawthorne the horses just didn't do well," Van Deren said. "He had foot problems there."

Roussel already has won four races at the meet from nine starters, and two of his winners, Extended View and Always on Time, came off layoffs similar to Kris's Sleigh's. Eddie Martin, aboard during for the horse's win streak as well as the recent work, rides Kris's Sleigh, who is coupled with Intern, a horse Roussel bought privately over the winter.

An easy lead for Kris's Sleigh would compromise Reno Rumble. The 7-year-old Reno Rumble, owned by Team Block and trained by Chris Block, has no early speed and came from far back when he won the Cardinal Handicap June 23. That was Reno Rumble's first strong effort in nearly a year, and Block had wondered aloud whether the horse would ever regain his form.

Reno Rumble has put in a pair of easy breezes since his win and will be ridden again by leading jockey Mark Guidry.

This is not a two-horse race, and three others come out of winning efforts. Jake the Flake has won consecutive turf allowances for trainer Hal Wiggins, including a recent win here when he put in a sustained run for nearly the last half-mile. Galic Boy won the Overage Handicap at Hawthorne this spring and the John Henry Handicap on this course last summer, and has the tactical speed to stay within striking range of Kris's Sleigh.

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