Surgical Strike can hit target in Arlington Classic

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

May 25th, 2016

A belated third in the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, Surgical Strike is more than capable of hitting an easier target Saturday in the $100,000 Arlington Classic (G3), a 1 1/16-mile grass test which attracted 11 other three-year-olds.

Victorious in the John Battaglia Memorial and a close third in the Spiral (G3) at Turfway Park prior to the American Turf, Surgical Strike found himself as much as 14 lengths off the lead in the latter event. Although aided by a quick pace, he ran out of real estate and finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Camelot Kitten. Trainer Ben Colebrook will start the Red Giant colt with blinkers on Saturday, ostensbly hoping that will help him stay more in touch with the leaders.

Also exiting the American Turf is Two Step Time, who finished up the track after an early bump. A stakes winner on the Sam Houston turf in February, he finished only a neck behind Surgical Strike in the Spiral.

Candy My Boy, fourth in the Risen Star (G2) and sixth in the Louisiana Derby (G2) in his last two starts, beat Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Creator in a maiden event on New Year's Eve at Fair Grounds and later won an allowance over the same strip. However, he never factored in his only previous try on grass.

Other leading contenders in the Classic include Tequila Joe, a turf allowance winner at Keeneland last month; Grade 3 winner Cocked and Loaded, who tries turf for the first time after a poor showing in the Pat Day Mile (G3) at Churchill; and the turf stakes winners Swagger Jagger and One Mean Man.

The supporting feature on Saturday is the $100,000 Arlington Matron (G3), a nine-furlong test on Polytrack for fillies and mares. The likely favorite is Brooklynsway, who upset graded stakes winners I'm a Chatterbox and and Ahh Chocolate in the Doubledogdare (G3) at Keeneland two starts back. The Bernie Flint trainee was a miltiple stakes winner on the synthetic surface at Woodbine earlier in her career.

The field also includes Flipcup, who took the Maple Leaf (G3) at Woodbine last fall; Personal Diary and She's Not Here, both graded winners on the turf; and the capable No Fault of Mine, who owns a two-for-two record over Arlington's main track.

(Coady Photography)