Arlington Park spot plays: Betting Larry Rivelli opening week
Racing has returned to Arlington Park this week, and you can bet handicappers will be keen to play pretty much any horse trained by Larry Rivelli.
Rivelli’s record at Arlington is extraordinary. Over the last five years, he has won 363 races from 1,157 starters — a 31% strike rate. He was particularly dominant in 2019, when he compiled a 78-for-215 (36%) record to secure more than three times as many victories as any other Arlington trainer. Betting every one of Rivelli’s horses equally last season would have been a break-even proposition, a rarity for a popular trainer who saddles such a large number of horses.
There are eight races scheduled to be run Saturday at Arlington, and Rivelli is stocked with live contenders. He has entered 10 horses across seven races, so don’t be surprised if he nabs two or three winners over the course of the afternoon.
Here are five Rivelli runners worth wagering on Saturday.
Race 2: Maiden special weight (3:35 p.m. ET)
#1 Big Win (5-2)
Rivelli has won at a 43% rate with 2-year-old first-time starters at Arlington since 2017, and Big Win appears poised to bolster that record. The daughter of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Big Brown is training forwardly and figures to come out running on debut.
#3 Back It Up (7-2)
Sired by the speedy Social Inclusion, Back It Up has a lighter work tab than Big Win but will be guided by high-percentage jockey Christopher Emigh (a 22% winner this year). If Big Win wins big, Back It Up can round out the exacta.
Race 3: $25,000 claiming (4:05 p.m. ET)
#4 Hook Her Up (5-2)
She graduated over a mile for a $25,000 claiming tag last summer but will cut back to 5 1/2 furlongs on Saturday in her return from an 11-month layoff. Emigh has the mount.
#5 Release the Heat (9-5)
She tired after she set the pace in a June 17 allowance sprint over the Indiana Grand dirt, her first start of the season.
This speedy filly dominated a $25,000 maiden claiming race by 8 1/2 lengths over the Arlington Polytrack last summer and should enjoy the switch to turf. She also owns the field’s best Brisnet Speed rating and looms as the filly to beat.
$15 to win on #5 Release the Heat
$5 exacta: 5 with 4
Race 8: $7,500 claiming (6:35 p.m. ET)
#2 Crow Moon (3-1)
This pure frontrunner fired off a career-best 88 Brisnet Speed rating when he weakened slightly to finish fourth for a $12,500 tag at Gulfstream last month.
The son of Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Artie Schiller is 2-for-3 at Saturday’s mile distance and should be tough to catch as he steps down the class ladder and ships in from a tougher circuit.
$25 to win on #2 Crow Moon