09/04/2009 11:00PM

Rumor Has It will run, gun, try to hang on


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Brass Hat has essentially been through two careers, one as a high-class dirt horse in his younger years, and now as a capable turf marathoner. He has earned more than $2 million, and has finished third in two recent Grade 1 turf races.

Silverfoot has earned nearly $1 million while wining 11 of 30 starts. He has shipped to Arlington from trainer Dallas Stewart's Churchill Downs base seeking his second straight win in the Stars and Stripes Handicap.

But these accomplished horses are part of a short six-horse field, and the only real pace in Monday's Grade 3, $125,000 Stars and Stripes is a one-time claimer named Rumor Has It. And rumor has it that Rumor Has It will be winging alone on the lead.

"There's not too much to change with his style of running," said trainer David Hinsley. "We've got the rail, there's not too much speed. We'll just keep our fingers crossed and see what happens."

What's happened twice this meet is Rumor Has It getting far enough ahead of his opponents during the middle of a long-distance race that they can't catch him. Rumor Has It held on to win around two turns Aug. 1 in the Rossi Gold Stakes, but he was much more impressive in the three-turn Polar Expedition in June. And the Stars and Stripes, like that race, will be contested around three bends. Rumor Has It faded badly to finish seventh in this race last year, but that was on the sort of wet turf course over which he seems to struggle.

Still, he may not be good enough to hold clear the two likely favorites. Brass Hat won the Louisville Handicap in May at Churchill Downs, and finished third in two more recent Grade 1's, the United Nations and the Sword Dancer. Brass Hat does return only 23 days after the Sword Dancer, though trainer Buff Bradley doesn't believe that will pose a problem.

"I wouldn't want to run him any closer than this, but he bounces back out of his races," Bradley said.

Silverfoot has been idle since finishing a close sixth to Arlington Million runner-up Just as Well in the Arlington Handicap. Silverfoot has shown a fondness for the local lawn, but like Brass Hat, he must hope Rumor Has It comes back to the field before the wire comes up.

Sea O'Erin: Tizdejavu looks tough

When Tizdejavu last came to Arlington, he was beaten nine lengths as the even-money favorite in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes. But the Secretariat is a 1 1/4-mile race, and a distance that long always was going to pose a problem for Tizdejavu. This time, Tizdejavu is here for the one-mile Sea O'Erin Stakes, and at this shorter distance he should be difficult to beat.

Tizdejavu won at 1 1/8 miles, and even 1 3/16 miles during a strong run last year at 3, but he was getting easy leads against suspect competition, and Tizdejavu probably was cut out to be more a middle-distance horse.

"We suspected he'd end up running that kind of distance," said trainer Greg Fox.

After the Secretariat, Tizdejavu didn't start for more than nine months. He suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his right front leg in the fall, and had to undergo surgery to repair the injury. But Tizdejavu won his comeback race at Churchill Downs in May, and after a wet-turf, tough-trip fifth in the Firecracker Handicap, he finished a bang-up second to Grade 1 winner Bribon in a Saratoga turf allowance race on Aug. 9.

"He went into elite company, he performed brilliantly, and it did validate he's better this year than last year, which is what we were hoping," Fox said.

Tizdejavu drew the far outside post, but that should not pose a major impediment, since the Sea O'Erin will have eight starters at most. Nine were entered in the one-mile grass race, but Brothers Nicholas, part of a coupled Louie Roussel entry, is unlikely to start. Roussel's other horse, Recapturetheglory, has a chance to win. He was scratched out of the Arlington Million because of wet course conditions, Roussel said, and won a turf allowance race here July 16.

"He's coming into this race as well as he's come into any race for me," said Roussel.

Demarcation finished a close third in the 2008 Sea O'Erin. Spotsgone and Exchanging Kisses should ensure a lively pace. Public Speaker could boost exotic payoffs if he runs back to a good one-mile grass win from earlier in this meet.

* Giant Oak will try to rebound from two disappointing tries in the Mid-America Triple when he takes on five rivals in the $50,000 Honor Glide Stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles.