08/27/2007 12:00AM

Wise River looks ripe for a win


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It's nice and all that Wise River made it back to the races after a year-plus layoff. It would be nicer if he had brought some luck along with him.

Wise River, a stakes-class 3-year-old grass horse back in 2006, didn't race between May of that year and July 6 at this Arlington meet, but he does not appear to have lost much in the interim. Wise River did pretty much everything right in his comeback race - except win. In an effort that might have propelled him nearer to peak fitness, Wise River was beaten a head by a Todd Pletcher horse named Golden Harpoon. And then, back on Aug. 1, Wise River got stuck down in the inside during the most crucial part of the race, and never really had a chance to run, finishing a close fourth of 10.

Thursday, in a second-level one-mile allowance scheduled for the Arlington grass, Wise River is back again from trainer Joan Scott's Kentucky base, but this time he needs help from Mother Nature. The Arlington turf course was turned into a squishy mess by several inches of rain last week, and if another round of precipitation strikes Tuesday night, say goodbye to grass racing again Wednesday. If the race gets moved to Polytrack, Galloping Home will run. Otherwise, seven were entered for grass.

Wise River gets a jockey change to Robby Albarado, which means his odds are going down Wednesday, and the decent 5-2 he offered in his last two starts almost certainly is gone. But with the right trip this time, Wise River could prove a key to seventh-race exotic wagers as well as multirace wagers.

Another Pletcher horse, Happy Humor, also could run well Thursday. Happy Humor's most recent start, in the Aug. 11 Forward Pass, was poor, but he will now make his first start around two turns, and - perhaps more importantly - his first start on turf. Happy Humor is by Distorted Humor and out of a Lear Fan mare, and that is a grass-leaning pedigree.

Malameeze has put in solid performances on dirt, turf, and most recently Polytrack, and he could get a piece of the action Wednesday. With a move to Polytrack, Rey Del Sol also enters the picture. Trainer Moises Yanez has won several off-the-turf allowance races this meet, and Rey Del Sol has two victories and a close fourth-place finish in his three races over Arlington's all-weather surface this summer.