09/01/2007 12:00AM

Wicked Style by head in Arlington-Washington

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Wicked Style is a flashy-looking horse, a rich chestnut with a white face and big white socks. He has heart, too. Passed at the sixteenth pole by Saratoga invader Riley Tucker, Wicked Style battled back while racing along the inside, and won the Arlington-Washington Futurity by a head under Robby Albarado.

Riley Tucker, the Bill Mott-trained 3-1 second choice, finished two lengths in front of Sebastian County, who was four better than T.J.'s Posse. Gold Coyote, the even-money favorite, finished fifth, beating only Celina Slew and Blackberry Road. Wicked Style, who paid $18 to win, was timed in a solid 1:36.52 for one mile on Polytrack.

Wicked Style won for the second time in as many starts, having captured a 6 1/2-furlong Arlington maiden race by 1 1/2 lengths July 21.

"He didn't win by much, but he won easy that day," Albarado said.

A son of Macho Uno owned by Ashbrook Farm, Wicked Style had impressed the Rusty Arnold barn at Keeneland even before his career debut.

"We've always thought a lot of this horse," said Jack Bohannan, an assistant to Arnold. "He had outworked some older horses. We were taking a shot here, but it was a matter of who wanted to go a mile, and we thought he did."

Gold Coyote and Blackberry Road set a sensible early pace, 23.58 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, but Blackberry Road was backing up before a half-mile had been run in 46.78. Gold Coyote assumed the lead before the quarter pole, and appeared to have run, but he quickly went empty turning for home.

Wicked Style raced along the fence from the start, and Albarado said he had to ask his mount for run earlier than he preferred in order to maintain his position going into the far turn. Riley Tucker, who had stalked the pace, loomed up three wide at the top of the stretch, as Wicked Style started kicking home, and at the sixteenth pole, Riley Tucker had his head in front, but Wicked Style battled back, regaining the lead yards from the finish.

"I think he beat a nice horse there," Albarado said.

Rene Douglas, who rode Riley Tucker, said he'd been warned to wait as long as he could with Riley Tucker, who was relaxed off the pace Saturday after fading to third off a fast pace last out in the Saratoga Special.

"I didn't ask him till the sixteenth pole," Douglas said. "He's still a baby, still learning."