Race Preview: Arlington Handicap - Arlington Park, July 13, 2013

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Matt Carter

July 12th, 2013

There are four graded stake races on the Saturday card at Arlington Park with perhaps the most important of the four the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap for three-year-olds and upward.  Why is this race the most important?  Because the ends the all-stakes pick-4 and is part of both the pick-5 and late pick-4.  It's definitely a key race to get right.

The morning line favorite for ten furlong turf race is Rahystrada, winner of last year's Arlington Handicap.  Now nine, Rahystrada has won 13 of his 43 career races and is three-for-six over the Arlington turf.  Trainer Byron Hughes has run a similar schedule for his gelding as last year, but on speed figures, Rahystrada has lost a step.

For whatever reason, Dullahan is the second choice on the morning line; however, this looks like merely a prep race for the four-year-old for the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar.  He has still yet to win on any surface other than synthetic and is at the mercy of the pace.

Speaking of pace, the early running of the Arlington Handicap may be a slow one.  Rahystrada won the race last year wire-to-wire and should be out close to the front on Saturday.  Joining him on the lead may be Beer Garden and/or Coalport.  The reason for the "and/or," both four-year-old colts are owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey.  Of the two, Coalport looks best.  He has won his last two races over the turf course at Arlington and if there is any time to try the Illinois-bred in open company, Saturday is the day.

Keep Up, Najjaar, Suntracer and Temeraine complete the field and all four will be doing their best running late.  Keep up won his last race over the course and was a 30-1 upset winner of the Grade 3 River City Handicap last November at Churchill Downs.

First post on Saturday at Arlington Park is 2:00 pm ET with the Arlington Handicap off at 6:25.