Updated on 09/16/2011 9:15AM

Smoke Chaser's the one in allowance field of 12


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Asked off the cuff about his talented 3-year-old filly Smoke Chaser, trainer Dennis Ebert replied, "I put her in for Sunday. Did the race go?"

Did it ever. A high-end allowance feature - especially on dirt - with more than a handful of horses has become a rarity here, but somehow Arlington's eighth race Sunday, at seven furlongs, attracted a field of 12. The field is deep, but 11 horses in it all have Smoke Chaser to beat.

A three-time winner at the meet, Smoke Chaser has won four of her last five races and comes off a dominant win Aug. 17 in the Meafara, a six-furlong overnight stakes race. Owned by Mark Goldish and Savoy Stable, Smoke Chaser has great early speed, but is relaxed enough when she races to be taken just off the pace.

"She's very versatile," Ebert said. "She can lead or stalk. I don't know how far she'll go, but I think she'll get a mile. She's done everything I've asked her to. We toyed with sending her down to Turfway for a stakes, but we stayed here for the allowance instead."

Smoke Chaser has done nothing since her last race to hint at decline, working a pair of fast half-miles under little urging from her exercise rider.

She's well drawn Sunday, too, breaking just outside the only horse in the race who probably is faster than her, Extended View, who starts from post 4 with jockey Randy Meier.

Owned and trained by Louie Roussel, Extended View had won four in a row going into the Meafara, but she lost all chance in that one just two strides into the race. A pure speed horse, Extended View was away slowly and checked at the start, and taken out of her typical game she failed to fire. With a clean break this time, Extended View will run much better, though the seven furlongs of this race will tax her stamina.

If Smoke Chaser and Extended View push too hard, the amazingly consistent McKinney could win for the third time in a month.

A crack starter allowance horse for trainer Steve Asmussen, McKinney has beaten lesser opponents while winning seven times in her last nine races, but she enters this race in peak form.

An easygoing gray filly owned by Nelson Bunker Hunt, McKinney likes to lope along and bide her time, but she will pick up the pace as soon as jockey Corey Lanerie asks her.

If the others are slowing down in the final furlong, McKinney might get there again.

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