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Matron & Classic - Saturday Stakes Doubleheader
The Grade III Arlington Matron and the $100,000 Arlington Classic, both longtime fixtures at Chicago’s premier Thoroughbred oval, will share top billing on Saturday. Stone Farm, John Adger, Oak Crest Farm & Mike Stidham’s Upperline headlines the Arlington Matron and All In Stables’s Willcox Inn among the favorites in the Arlington Classic.
A daughter of Maria’s Mon, Upperline was victorious in the Grade III Arlington Oaks at the mile and an eighth Matron distance last summer. Trained by co-owner Stidham, the 4-year-old already has two stakes scores to her credit this season, capturing the $60,000 Allen LaCombe Memorial Handicap and the $100,000 Bayou Handicap, both run over the Fair Grounds turf course. In her most recent start, she finished ninth after being steadied at the start in the Grade II Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day. Robby Albarado has been named to ride.
Michael Deegan’s Pachattack, sixth after a poor start in the Grade I Beverly D. here last August, returns to Arlington Park as part of trainer Gerard Butler’s six-horse string that will be campaigning here this summer. The daughter of Pulpit is no stranger to all-weather surfaces having won the $175,000 Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine last November and finishing a good third on the Group III Sporting Bet Winter Derby at Lingfield in England. Leading rider Junior Alvarado gets the call.
Though winless in three starts this year, Alex Campbell Jr.’s It’s Tea Time comes into the Matron off a third-place finish in the Grade III Doubledogdare Stakes over the Keeneland Polytrack in April. The Rusty Arnold-trained 4-year-old Dynaformer filly has been competitive in graded stakes competition and won the Grade III Lake Placid Stakes at Saratoga last August. Eclipse Award-winning rider Julien Leparoux makes his 2011 Arlington Park debut for this mount.
Completing the field for the Arlington Matron are: Nancy Vanier’s Home’s the Best (Eduardo Perez); Tracy Farmer’s La Gran Bailadora (E. T. Baird); Eugene George’s Milwaukee Appeal (Kent Desormeaux); Vladimir Kazakov’s Santina Dond (Jozbin Santana); Jerry Jamgotchian’s Satans Quick Chick (Julio Felix); Jerry Jamgotchian’s Spring Party (James Graham) and Robert Zoellner’s She’s All In (Luis Quinonez).
In the Arlington Classic¸ a mile and a sixteenth turf race which serves as the first leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple that continues July 9 with the Grade II American Derby and concludes with the Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Aug. 13, Willcox Inn comes in off an eighth-place finish on Polytrack in the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
Previously, the Mike Stidham-trained son of Harlan’s Holiday ran second in the $60,000 Grindstone Stakes at the Fair Grounds. Last year as a 2-year-old, Willcox Inn broke his maiden here beating eventual Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in the process before finishing third in both the Grade I Breeders Futurity at Keeneland and the Grade II Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs. Robby Albarado will ride Willcox Inn for the first time on Saturday.
Winning Stables & Raymond Rech’s Crimson Knight has made two starts since being claimed for a $16,000 tag in February. Under new trainer Gerald Bennett, the son of Leroidesanimeaux ran second in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby at odds of more than 80-1 and last out won an allowance race at that Florida race course. Ronnie Allen Jr. has the mount.
Team Block’s Suntracer looks for his third straight victory on turf. The Illinois-bred son Kitten’s Joy won a first-level allowance race at Gulfstream Park in March and a second-level allowance at Keeneland the following month. Trainer Chris Block has given the riding assignment to Julien Leparoux.
Vladamir Kazakov’s Legendary King, a runner-up in his most recent start here, is a stakes winner in Poland. Trained by Gennadi Dorochenko, the son of Brahms will be ridden by Jozbin Santana.
Completing the field for the Arlington Classic are: Janis Whitham’s Fort Larned (E. T. Baird); Mark Dedomenico’s Sandys Diamond (Tim Thornton); Volunteer Racing’s Forbidden Forest (Junior Alvarado); Silverton Hill’s Swagger Jack (James Graham); Pin Oak Stable’s Pulpitarian (Luis Quinonez); Windwoods Farm’s Strong Appeal (Jermaine Bridgmohan); Homewrecker Racing Stable’s Twojohnsandajack (Florent Geroux) and Glen Hill Farm’s Extensive (Kent Desormeaux).