07/22/2008 12:00AM

Twisting Road tepid pick

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Starter allowances can at times be among the least competitive races on a card, often drawing a runner that stands above the rest. Such races might draw a horse like Golden Hare, who went 14 of 17 in starter company in 2007, or another win machine like Stratostar, who is 6 for 8 in starter allowances this year.

Thursday's featured seventh race at Arlington Park, a starter allowance at 1 1/16 miles on turf, did not attract such a dominant horse. Better than that, it drew a field of 12 in which the competition runs deep.

Twisting Road is a tepid 3-1 favorite on the morning line in a starter allowance for horses that that have raced for a claiming price of $16,000 or less since Dec. 31, 2006. Next on the morning line is Chestermite at 4-1, and the Frank Calabrese-owned entry of Can't Spell and Manchu Prince at 9-2.

And that is just a sampling of the horses with a shot at victory. Tony Terrific and Afleet Pardner, each coming off a victory at this starter class level when the race was split into two divisions on July 5, are 5-1 and 8-1, respectively.

Twisting Road likes the Arlington course, where he has twice won in three starts. The loss came in his most recent race, on July 3, in his first start off the claim for trainer Dale Bennett and owner Dan Passaglia, when he ran eighth in a second-level allowance race on a soft turf course.

Making his second start off the claim for Bennett, a stronger performance is expected. Statistics show that Bennett has won with 29opercent of his second-after-claim runners over the past five years.

A return to starter company, a level at which Twisting Road won at Arlington on Mayo26, should also result in a more competitive performance. Eddie Razo rides.

Chestermite is no stranger to facing Twisting Road, having finished behind him in a pair of starter allowances this spring. He ran fifth in a starter $20,000 race at Gulfsteam Park on March 12, finishing 2 1/4 lengths behind Twisting Road, then ran fourth in a starter contest at Churchill Downs on May 11, 4o1/2 lengths behind that rival.

Subsequently, he finished third in a four-horse field in a third-level allowance race at Churchill on June 12.

Of those not among the morning-line favorites, Bachicho could prove dangerous as seemingly the controlling speed of the race.