Updated on 09/16/2011 8:36AM

Track Boss takes on crowd

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CHICAGO - Few are sharper at picking spots for a horse than trainer Tom Amoss. That's what it takes to win at a 30 percent clip, as Amoss has done so far this year. In Arlington's condition book, Amoss saw a race for Track Boss, a Fair Grounds claim who has gotten good enough for an allowance try. Amoss had found his spot.

So had the rest of the Midwest.

"The Chicago race was good for us," Amoss said. "But I sure didn't expect to see 14 horses in there."

Thanks to Arlington's expanded maximum field size this year, all 14 are in Wednesday's featured eighth race. A Jerry Hollendorfer-trained entry cuts the number of betting interests down to 13.

That should be plenty. A second-level allowance at one mile, the race brims with logical contenders. Track Boss is one of them, given his recent form in Churchill claiming races. On behalf of Tom Boy Stable, Amoss claimed Track Boss for $25,000 on March 23. They bumped Track Boss up to $40,000 claiming, and the 5-year-old horse responded with two career-best efforts. Unfortunately, they weren't quite good enough, as Track Boss ran into two sharp horses and had to settle for second both times.

"He ran some really good races by the Ragozin sheets or otherwise," Amoss said. "He was unlucky not to win either race."

In fact, Track Boss had run so fast that Amoss got concerned he would lose the horse through a claim for less than his current value. That's one reason he sought out the Arlington allowance. Another is the race's one-turn mile configuration, the same trip at which Track Boss excelled in his most recent start.

Track Boss is one of two logical Churchill claiming contenders, the other being the Dallas Stewart-trained Clutch Player, who won a $50,000 claimer, also at a mile, by almost three lengths on May 31.

Several others have a reasonable chance. The Tony Reinstedler-trained Weston Field has trouble winning races, but is fast enough to contend with the best of this group. Louie Roussel sends out Golden Arm, a sprinter who might appreciate a more moderate tempo in this extended sprint.

State celebrated on Saturday

Saturday, Arlington hosts the Prairie State Festival, a collection of events mainly connected to Illinois history. For horseplayers, the day's focus rests on six stakes restricted to Illinois-breds.

With the possible exception of the Springfield for 3-year-olds, all the races should draw large, bettable fields, with the Purple Violet and the Cardinal coming up especially strong. For 3-year-old fillies at a mile, the Purple Violet features a matchup between Summer Mis and Tejano Honey. The Cardinal has a graded stakes quality field headed by Fan Club's Mister and Mystery Giver.

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