06/22/2005 11:00PM

Take Achance on Me back vs. statebreds


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Take Achance on Me is an excellent sprinter by Illinois-bred standards. The problem is he has spent very little time in Illinois.

Funny, because Take Achance on Me has been about everywhere. A 7-year-old owned by W.D. Everett and trained by Mike Trombetta, Take Achance on Me has started at 19 different tracks during a 43-race career. He has always been based in Maryland, however, and has ventured to Illinois only twice, finishing second in the 2003 White Oak Handicap and winning the Chicagoland Handicap two months ago at Hawthorne.

Thursday, was vanned from Laurel Park to compete in Saturday's White Oak at Arlington. Off a third in the Grade 3 Maryland Breeders' Cup and his sound spanking of Silver Bid in the Chicagoland, Take Achance on Me should go favored in a strong eight-horse field.

"It's a long way to go for a statebred race," said Trombetta. "But the horse doesn't mind going, and the owner really enjoys it, so we're there."

Take Achance on Me, historically a horse who falls just short - he has 14 seconds in 43 starts - has won 2 of 3 starts this year.

"Fortunately he's been running really hard as of late," Trombetta said. "He's not a great work horse. He knows when it's for real, and he knows when it's practice."

Take Achance on Me will know he has been in a horse race Saturday. He has post 3 and figures to go for the lead, but there will be pace pressure, particularly from . Silver Bid's connections decided to let Take Achance on Me go in the Hawthorne race. The track turned out to be speed-biased, and Silver Bid never had a chance. Silver Bid finished fourth in his prep for the White Oak, but the seven furlongs of that race was farther than his best.

Jaguar City: Lincoln Heritage or Isaac Murphy?

Trainer Frank Springer said he was entering the versatile mare Jaguar City in the Isaac Murphy at six furlongs on dirt and the Lincoln Heritage at 1 1/16 miles on turf "in case she draws the 1-hole" in the Isaac Murphy.

Good thinking.

did draw post 1 in the dirt sprint, and if he wants to avoid the perils of that spot, Springer can scratch and go to the Lincoln Heritage.

Either way, Jaguar City is a contender. She has never won on grass, but was third against open allowance horses at Fair Grounds and showed her strength as a two-turn horse with a blowout win over statebreds in the April 30 Peach of It Handicap at Hawthorne. One minor problem there: Jaguar City came over at the start and was disqualified. Her connections had to sweat out another inquiry here June 3, when Jaguar City finished first in an overnight sprint handicap, but this time her number stayed up.

Jaguar City could wire the Lincoln Heritage, but not if she takes early pace pressure from the stretchout sprinter Wish for Gold. Lighthouse Lil won this race last year and also merits respect, with a much-needed May 29 comeback race behind her. Beau Happy also merits respect in her stakes debut.

If Jaguar City goes in the Lincoln Heritage, the Isaac Murphy is thrown wide open. Slewville, a stakes winner on last year's Prairie State card, could step up, but there are many others who look similar on paper.

Pretty Jenny no sure thing at a mile

Pretty Jenny has handled everything thrown at her so far, starting her career with three straight wins, including a victory April 30 in the Lady Hallie at Hawthorne. But the Purple Violet Stakes isn't going to be a walkover for her. Pretty Jenny races beyond six furlongs for the first time in the one-mile Purple Violet, and her 10 rivals include horses with the early speed to press Pretty Jenny, who has led at virtually every call so far.

may be capable of rating, but a pace battle would give hope to others. The upset candidates include Political Hostage, a closer compromised by an inside-speed track in her only previous starts with Illinois-breds, and Meadow Bride, who should be coming with a late run.

Humor at Last hopes to get back on track

A return to his top 2-year-old form would make a major contender in the one-mile Springfield for 3-year-old colts. He has been freshened since finishing second at 2-5 in the Land of Lincoln two months ago at Hawthorne, and his trainer, Tony Mitchell, has long looked forward to trying Humor at Last in a one-turn mile. Others to consider in the wide-open Springfield are Sir Winzalot, Sub Futz Jr, Bit of a Chap, and the maiden Northern Gent.