07/14/2010 5:28PM

Stakes-quality field in Arlington feature


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – There was a reason Arlington Park cut its race week to four days in 2010. Arlington hosted Monday racing to cap off the July 4 weekend, adding a fifth day to its race week, and the results of that move were not pretty. Arlington’s Saturday card was supposed to have been drawn Wednesday, but entries stayed open until late Thursday morning, and even then only 67 horses – several pilfered from Thursday’s program – were entered in nine races.

The good news? The Saturday allowance feature, race 6, is excellent. It includes the one-three-four finishers from the White Oak Handicap for Illinois-breds − Shrewd Operator, Mighty Rule, and Amazing Results − as well as the winner of the Illinois-bred Springfield Stakes, Big Looie. Also entered were Arlington Polytrack-loving King A.J., and Mambo Galliano, who won well over the main track here in late May.

“It ought to be a stakes race, it looks like to me,” said trainer Wayne Catalano, who will send out highly promising Super Robusto in the Saturday feature,.

Super Robusto had the look of a synthetic-track stakes horse while making his first start for Catalano in a second-level allowance here June 20. Super Robusto, a 4-year-old son of Smoke Glacken, won that day by almost seven lengths and did so under minimal encouragement from jockey Michael Baze. On the early pace that afternoon, Super Robusto may be outrun early by some quick opponents Saturday, but a different trip doesn’t concern Catalano.

“It looks like he’ll lay right off them,” Catalano said. “We should be fine.”

Shrewd Operator, winner of the White Oak, is the horse to catch and beat Saturday – if he starts. Trainer Chris Block entered Shrewd Operator and Amazing Results, and by Thursday afternoon, he wasn’t sure if both would actually start. Shrewd Operator is aces at six furlongs, but Saturday’s race will be contested over 6 1/2 furlongs. With early pace pressure, Shrewd Operator, a need-the-lead type, could be vulnerable.

“He certainly probably is better at three-quarters, but I think he can make that if he doesn’t get pushed too hard, ” Block said.

Graded-stakes-placed Amazing Results returned from a lengthy layoff in the White Oak and could improve now.

“He should take a step forward I would think, ” Block said. “He needed that last one for sure.”