05/14/2006 11:00PM

Upright should like new venue


CHICAGO - City Number looked good winning an entry-level sprint allowance race by seven lengths on Friday at Arlington Park. The victory earned his three-person partnership $17,400 in purse money - and gave trainer Hugh Robertson a chance to shave.

A decidedly scruffy Robertson had vowed two days prior not to remove his whiskers until one of his horses crossed the finish line first. Nineteen days after his previous winner, City Number obliged, and Robinson won another on Saturday when Crater Maker took an Illinois-bred maiden race.

Robertson could have been heading toward mountain-man territory if he had vowed not to shave until Arlington ran another turf race. That wide, lush swath of green sitting inside the dirt track - Arlington's pride and joy - has been rendered unusable during the last several days. It started raining in the Chicago area late Wednesday night, and other than a brief respite Sunday afternoon, it has rained on and off ever since. Every racing day has been the same: sloppy main track, off the turf.

More showers fell Monday, still more were forecast through Tuesday night, and Arlington racing secretary Kevin Greely has not even bothered taking entries for turf racing on Wednesday or Thursday.

But Robertson has one for the nominally featured eighth race on Wednesday's nine-race, all-dirt program - Upright, who looks like a shave-worthy kind of horse.

For starters, has only six opponents in this seven-furlong entry-level allowance, and getting back to Arlington Park seems like a good thing for this horse. Arlington has a chute from which races of seven furlongs to one mile around one turn can be carded. Over at Hawthorne, where Upright has made his last seven starts, there's a house sitting where a one-mile chute would lie.

And that's tough on Upright, who looks like a classic "tweener" kind of horse - not quite quick enough to win at six furlongs but not ideally suited for 1 1/16 miles around two turns, either. Upright did win at 6 1/2 furlongs at Hawthorne, but that was last winter and it required a drop into a conditioned claiming race. The two best-looking races showing on his form came in one-turn miles at Arlington, and while seven furlongs might not be perfect, it should do.

Upright's main rival could be , another horse seemingly suited to the track and distance. But what Rhino Chaser does not do especially well is win. His career record shows only 3 victories compared to 10 place finishes in 29 career starts.