05/07/2009 12:00AM

Telling merits respect


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - When Telling won an open turf allowance race last May 16 at Arlington Park, it marked his fourth straight victory. The winning streak came to an end three weeks later, and now Telling comes into the $50,000 Chester House Stakes on Saturday at Arlington having lost seven in a row since that win here about a year ago.

Still, Telling might be favored to capture the Chester House, carded for 1 1/16 miles on turf. Telling wound up his 2008 campaign with a pair of solid performances in Grade 3 turf stakes in Kentucky, and after a rocky 2009 comeback race on dirt at Oaklawn Park, Telling finished second of six, beating stakes-class French Beret, in an open Keeneland turf allowance race. With ever-popular Arlington jock Rene Douglas named to ride for trainer Steve Hobby, Telling will look to many like the right horse among eight in the Chester House.

But contention runs fairly deep. Artic Cry looks no worse than second choice in the Chester House, with a close second last out in the Grade 3 Appleton over the Gulfstream Park turf course. But go back just three races in Artic Cry's form - most of which was compiled overseas - and you will find a $35,000 nonwinners-of-two claiming race. Moreover, the course conditions at Arlington, where the weather has been wet and cool, figure to be much different than what Artic Cry encountered in Florida.

Artic Cry could wind up setting the pace, and may be tracked by Yankee Injunuity, an attractive play at decent odds. Yankee Injunuity won twice over a wet Arlington grass course about this time last year, and the 1 1/16-mile trip of the Chester House probably is his best. He hasn't raced since Dec. 28 at Tampa, but drilled a fast half-mile there April 21 before shipping to Arlington, where Yankee Injunuity worked another quick half on May 1.

Ministers Joy, a listed-stakes-type 7-year-old, makes his first start since being privately purchased by Louie Roussel. Tiger Woodman swept to victory last out in a Keeneland allowance race, but runs best on that course. Snapphok has never beaten horses of this quality. And 8-year-old Alone at Last has nothing on 10-year-old Major Rhythm, who won the Rossi Gold on this course last June, but has not started since July.