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Upperline Seeks Second Arlington Stakes Score of 2012 in Grade III Modesty Handicap on Million Preview Day
Stone Farm, John Adger, Oak Crest Farm & Mike Stidham's Arlington Matron winner Upperline looks to become the first horse since Belle of Cozzene in 1996 to win both the Matron and Grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap in the same season as she heads a solid field of eight distaffers entered Saturday's mile and three-sixteenths grass test.
The Modesty serves as the final local prep for the Grade I $750,000 Beverly D., which will be held Aug. 18, and is one of four major stakes that comprise the track's Million Preview Day program. In addition to the Modesty, the 12-race card includes the Grade III $200,000 American Derby, the Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap and the Grade III $150,000 Stars and Stripes. As an added bonus, the 1-2-3 finishers in the Modesty will have their entry and starting fees waived for the Beverly D. should they elect to run in that event next month.
A 5-year-old Maria's Mon mare, Upperline is equally adept on both turf and synthetic surfaces, capturing the Matron over Arlington's Polytrack on May 26 exactly one month to the day after winning Keeneland's grassy Grade III Bewitch Stakes. In her most recent post, the Mike Stidham trainee finished a good second, beaten only a nose by Stars to Shine, in the $100,000 Trillium Stakes at Woodbine Race Course near Toronto. James Graham has been named to ride the 121-pound starting highweight who will spot her rivals one to seven pounds.
Catesby Clay's Bizzy Caroline invades off a winning effort in the Grade III Mint Julep Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 2. The daughter of Afleet Alex is seven for 10 in the money on turf for trainer Ken McPeek. Manoel Cruz has the call aboard the 120-pound second highweight.
Frank Calabrese's Romacaca returns to Arlington where she is four for six lifetime. Fourth in the Grade III Violet Stakes at Monmouth last time out, the 6-year-old daughter of Running Stag won the Grade III Matchmaker at the Jersey Shore oval in 2011. Locally trained by Danny Miller, she has been turning in strong drills in preparation for the Modesty where she will shoulder 119 pounds including leading rider Francisco Torres.
Also in at 119 pounds is Barbara Hunter's multiple graded stakes winner Snow Top Mountain, who took the Grade III All Along Stakes at Colonial Downs last out on June 16. The 5-year-old Najran mare, trained by Tom Proctor, previously captured the Grade III Suwannee River at Gulfstream in February. Julien Leparoux will be in from his New York homebase to ride.
Robert Zoellner's She's All In, heroine of the Grade III Sixty Sails Handicap on dirt at Hawthorne Race Course in April, returns to the turf course for the first time since winning the $100,000 River Cities Stakes at Louisiana Downs last September. Trained by Donnie K. Von Hemel, the daughter of Include turned in a visually impressive drill over the local lawn last week. Luiz Quinonez will be in to ride She's All In, who has been assigned 116 pounds for Saturday's engagement.
Others in the field for the Modesty (with jockey and weight assignment) are: Stronach Stables' Smart Sting (Joel Rosario, 117), winner of the Grade III Selene Stakes at Woodbine last fall; S. D. Brilie Partnership's Pathway (Seth Martinez, 115), an allowance winner here two weeks ago; and Jean & Ted Barlas and Mike Porcaro's Trac N Jam (Corey Lanerie, 114), winner of the 2011 Indiana Distaff at Indiana Downs.