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Graded Stakes Winner La Tia Tops Lincoln Heritage; Suntracer, The Pizza Man Vie in Black Tie Affair
Illinois-bred turf stars of both sexes will be in the spotlight Saturday when Arlington International Racecourse presents the $100,000 Lincoln Heritage Handicap for fillies and mares and its open counterpart the $100,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap. Each race will be run at a mile and a sixteenth over the Arlington grass course.
A graded stakes winning daughter of City Place, Hernandez Racing Club’s La Tia comes into the Lincoln Heritage off an impressive 4 ½-length romp in an open optional claiming/allowance race over the turf last month. Now trained by Armando De la cerda, the 4-year-old filly captured the Grade III Arlington Oaks here last summer when in the barn of Brian Williamson. The 123-pound highweight will spot her rivals from five to seven pounds and will be ridden by her regular jockey, Constantino Roman.
Second in the weights at 118 pounds is S. B. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s Goldway. The daughter of Champali finished second to La Tia in the aforementioned allowance race. The Christine Janks-trained 5-year-old, who has three wins over the Arlington grass, will have the services of jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr.
Trainer Chris Block has two entered in the Lincoln Heritage – Darrell & Sadie Brommer’s With a Twist and Richard Otto’s Mourette. The former, a daughter of Cashel Castle, is a lightly raced 5-year-old who won a state-bred allowance race here on May 26. The latter, by Smart Strike, was seventh in this race last year and more recently finished third against open company on the Arlington turf. Eduardo Perez has the mount on With a Twist, who was assigned 117 pounds, while Eddie Castro has been named to ride Mourette at 116 pounds.
Completing the field for the Lincoln Heritage (with jockeys and weight assignment listed) are: Asiel Stable’s Diva’s Diamond (Tim Thornton, 116 pounds), winner of the $100,000 Peach Of It Handicap at Hawthorne in April; and Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey’s Tipsy (Channing Hill, 116), victorious in a state-bred allowance on the Arlington Turf on May 17.
Team Block’s Suntracer and Midwest Thoroughbreds’ The Pizza Man, each voted Illinois champion 3-Year-Old during their respective sophomore campaigns, look to be the horses to beat in the Black Tie Affair.
The former, a 5-year-old Kitten’s Joy horse, is a stakes winner in open company having captured the $75,000 Woodchopper at the Fair Grounds late in his 3-year-old season and the $100,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap at Hawthorne last October. In his lone start this year, Suntracer finished a close-up fourth in an open company allowance race on the turf. The 123-pound highweight will be ridden by Eduardo Perez.
Just one pound back in the weights at 122 pounds is The Pizza Man. A four-time winner over the Arlington turf course, the son of English Channel went six for seven last year with his only defeat coming in against much better competition in the Grade III American Derby. The 4-year-old gelding, now trained by Tom Amoss, won his seasonal debut against open company in March at the Fair Grounds and endured an extremely troubled trip in his last start at Churchill Downs. Florent Geroux has been named to ride Saturday.
Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey’s Coalport was an easy winner against state-bred rivals last time. The Wayne Catalano-trained Kitten’s Joy colt has been assigned 120 pounds for the Black Tie Affair and is slated to be ridden by Channing Hill.
Also in with 120 pounds is Carson Springs Farm’s Tazz. The 7-year-old veteran gelding won this race in 2011 and remains competitive in stakes and high-end allowance races. The Christine Janks-trained son of Roar of the Tiger comes in off a second-place finish in a tough allowance race on May 17 and will be ridden Saturday by Kent Desormeaux.
The remainder of the field for the Black Tie Affair (with jockey and weight assignment) are: Captain Jack Racing Stable’s defending champion Mr. Mischief (E. T. Baird, 118 pounds); Terry Biondo and Cherrywood Racing Stables’ Princeville Condo (Eddie Castro, 118), twice second in this race; Team Block’s Mavericking (Seth Martinez, 116); Russell Lawson & Robert Richards’ Striking Hight (Edgar Perez, 115); and John Haran Jr.’s Lethal (James Graham, 112).