05/27/2003 11:00PM

Shenofsky's Chicago 'home'


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Ron Shenofsky has lived in limbo the last several years. Shenofsky had been training horses in Ohio and winning his share of races in the late 1990's, but purses on that circuit got so depressed Shenofsky pulled his stable to run for bigger money in Chicago.

Here, he may have found a home.

In just his second year on the circuit, Shenofsky is making hay. So far this season Shenofsky has won 16 races with only 57 starters, a 28-percent strike rate, and already at Arlington he has saddled three winners.

The Ohio racing industry has lobbied for slot machines during the last few years, and the possibility of a slots-driven purse hike - plus the uncertainty of succeeding here - has kept Shenofsky from making Chicago a permanent base. Shenofsky's wife is still living in Toledo, his hometown.

"We haven't bought anything here yet," Shenofsky said after training hours Wednesday morning. "I've been living on the road for five or six years."

Mild mannered and bespectacled, Shenofsky operates out of a dimly lit barn filled with smaller Illinois outfits, situated on the northern edge of Arlington's backstretch, yards from a commuter rail line. Here, he runs a claiming-based outfit with some younger Illinois-breds mixed in.

"Last year was a little down. I brought Thistledown horses to try and compete in Chicago," said Shenofsky, briefly smiling.

"Things are doing real well now. I attribute it to giving good care. And, we've got really good help that have been with me now more than a year," Shenofsky said.

Shenofsky has an unraced Charismatic 2-year-old he's looking forward to running this summer, but the claimers Silent Charge and Hurricane Merle - who he raised from a weanling - are his stars for now. Silent Charge was entered to race Thursday, and had an excellent chance to win his third straight race. Shenofsky claimed him for $18,000 and Silent Charge hasn't lost yet, moving up the ladder this week to a $35,000 claimer.

"His biggest problem is getting to the racetrack," Shenofsky said. "He'll try to flip in the paddock. Once he gets out there, he's fine."

Sue's Good News to miss stakes

Saturday's $75,000 Real Delight, only the second stakes race so far this meet, lost one of its major players when Sue's Good News was withdrawn from the field. Trainer Steve Hobby entered Sue's Good News early Wednesday but took her out of the Real Delight after the filly had trouble following a three-furlong workout.

"She worked excellent, but she tied up afterward," Hobby said.

Tying up is a fairly common if painful occurrence in racehorses. When a horse ties up after exercise, its muscles contract and don't release. Hobby said Sue's Good News would probably get one day off before returning to the track Friday.

This is the second minor ailment that has kept Sue's Good News out of a stakes race. She came down with an upper-respiratory infection the week before she was to have run in the Dogwood Stakes earlier this month at Churchill.

Hobby has another horse, Feisty Princess, for the six-furlong Real Delight, which drew a field of 10 3-year-old fillies. Fast Cookie, third in her last start in the Grade 3 La Troienne for the Bill Mott stable, is the likely favorite over the Louie Roussel-trained In Secure.

Al's Dearly Bred to Sea O'Erin

Trainer Hugh Robertson is conservative by nature, but he conceded the $150,000 Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile June 15 on turf is the logical spot for Al's Dearly Bred.

"We'll nominate there, and if everything goes well we'll run in there, I suppose," Robertson said.

Robertson is a realist, and doesn't like to overmatch his horses, but Al's Dearly Bred should have a reasonable chance in the Sea O'Erin, a race in which he finished a close third last season. Coming offf a November layoff, Al's Dearly Bred made his comeback Monday and won a good overnight turf stakes race here. He rallied strongly in the last furlong to nip Holy Conflict, who in his last start had narrowly lost to the subsequent Grade 1 winner Honor in War.

Al's Dearly Bred is a 6-year-old, and he carries the bulk of an older horse, but Robertson had niftily prepared him for his comeback.

"He came back fine," Robertson said. "He didn't seem real tired."

* A high-end route allowance race that would have been Friday's feature didn't come close to attracting sufficient entries to make it onto the card. In its place fans will have to be satisfied with a big field of first-level turf allowance horses.

The one to beat here could be Single Stroke, who returns to turf - seemingly his preferred surface - for the Three Kings Stable and trainer Mike Stidham.