07/09/2002 11:00PM

Silent Charge in open company


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - An Illinois-bred gets a maiden race and two allowance conditions, then it's out of statebred company and into the big, scary world of open racing. It's a tough jump for a horse to make, and he needs a little luck to do it.

But how much luck does has trainer Christine Janks have left?

She used much of it Sunday, when she won three times in the first five races.

"That was wonderful, and you really have to appreciate it when days go like that," Janks said. "I've won three before, but it's tough. It seems like you get two, and that third one is really hard."

Friday, Janks tries to keep things rolling with Silent Charge, an eye-catching winner of a June 20 statebred allowance who tries making the jump into open company in the featured eighth race, a third-level allowance with a $65,000 claiming option.

Silent Charge faces only five rivals in the nine-furlong dirt race, which scraped onto the program only when Janks agreed to enter Silent Charge and make the field six. That minght make some call Silent Charge a "hustled horse," in racing-office terminology, but Janks said she intended to run Silent Charge in a race at this level, if not on Friday, then soon.

"I don't think [racing secretary] Dave [Bailey] hustles people into races where they clearly don't belong," Janks said. "There were only five in there, so we decided to go ahead and run."

Janks is rather surprised to be here with Silent Charge, who she co-owns with William Lydon. Silent Charge started his career last summer in a $15,000 maiden claimer, and was in for that tag again when he made his first start this season. But Silent Charge is a better horse than that. He made all the running and won an Illinois entry-level allowance April 29, flopped in a turf start, then scored his good win here three weeks ago, running a mile in a strong 1:37.06 while winning by almost five lengths.

"He's by not much and out of not much," Janks said. "When you're looking at a horse without any pedigree, it can make you skeptical."

Bettors may feel the same way and are likely to focus on others. Shamus Shea, an open two-other-than winner in his last start, could be favored, nothing new for a Jerry Hollendorfer-trained horse.

Fact Not Fiction, an on-again, off-again sort, also will take action, while Law Review comes in off a second-place finish in a Churchill Optional claimer. Horrible Evening and Apalachee Special complete the field.

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