Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Arlington Barn Notes: Wednesday, Sept. 10

                                Contact: Michael Adolphson
(847) 385-7558
Barn Notes:  Wednesday, September 10, 2014     
In Today's Notes: 
  • La Tia Sets Sights on Santa Anita
  • My Option Unlucky in Masters, Returns Home Well
        In the wake of her potent performance – fourth beaten 1½ lengths – in the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes on Arlington Million Day, Hernandez Racing Club's stable star and multiple Illinois champion La Tia is now planning what could be an ambitious fall campaign – including a possible trip out west.
        Said eager crusade commences this weekend in Sunday's Grade II $300,000 Canadian Stakes – a Breeders' Cup Challenge Series 'Win and You're In' race for the Grade I Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.  In last year's Canadian, the Prairie State-bred daughter of City Place was allowed to speed through a rapid half-mile in :46.53 by before tiring to finish fourth under Kent Desormeaux – beaten three lengths – by Minakshi, who finished the race in a brisk 1:44.05.  
        This year, an improved La Tia – who will be ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario – could be a force with which to reckon when she makes her fourth career Woodbine appearance in hopes of landing her third stakes at the greater Toronto course.  Such was not in the original plans, though.
        "We entered her in the $100,000 (Belle Mahone) Handicap last week, but no one would run against her and the race didn't go," trainer Armando De La Cerda said.  "We wanted to use that race as a prep for Keeneland and the Grade I (First Lady Stakes) over a flat mile.  I wanted to get her confidence up on the Polytrack and then go to Kentucky and run on the grass."
The First Lady – also a 'Win and You're In' – would have been a gateway to what will most likely be a seasonal finale for the speedy bay mare in California.  "I am thinking of running in the Grade II (Goldlikova Stakes) at a flat mile the day after the Breeders' Cup," De La Cerda explained.  "She is training really good and is very happy and I think she would love the firm course there and the one-mile (distance)."
As far Sunday's big race – and if the eight-time winner of nearly $700,000 wins the 'Win and You're In' – De La Cerda is doing his best to remain realistic.  "I'm not sure she wants a mile and a quarter," he said soberly.  "Maybe she can do it at Santa Anita, but we don't know.  She ran well here at a mile and three-sixteenths.  The mile may be better.  I really wanted to run at Keeneland but this may be cutting it too close, now."
Speaking of locally based female turf stars, Hit the Board Stable's I'm Already Sexy will also be returning to action after a solid showing in the Beverly D.  Trained by Wayne Catalano, the daughter of Ready's Image ran sixth, beaten only 2½ lengths (and one length behind La Tia), in the $750,000 event.  On Saturday, the dark bay starts as one of the favorites in the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes in a field that also includes Nancy Vanier and Lyda Williamson's Illinois-bred favorite Kepi, who has not raced since a disappointing seventh behind I'm Already Sexy in the Grade III Modesty Handicap on July 12.
        Illinois champion and winner of the Grade III $150,000 Chicago Handicap in June My Option returned home no worse for the wear after an unlucky trip in Monday's Grade II $400,000 Presque Isle Masters disallowed the talented 4-year-old to display her best form.  Freshened after a failed stretch out and possible bounce behind La Tia in the Grade III 1 1/16-miles Ontario Matron in July, the Chris Block trainee had been burning up the Arlington International oval in recent weeks preparing for the Presque Isle Downs event.
        Breaking from the rail in the field of 10 and carrying co-top weight of 123 pounds, the Tim Keeley Illinois homebred came out well under Jose Lezcano, who was in from New York and riding the daughter of Belong to Me for the first time.  In lieu of tracking and advancing from the rail, a strategy the gray filly used in the Chicago Handicap, My Option was taken seven-wide, but closed resolutely and was finishing fastest of all when crossing the line fifth, only two lengths astern victress Living the Life.  In second was Disco Barbie, whom My Option soundly defeated in June.
        A versatile filly who has won stakes from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, My Option's next start is undecided.  Having developed into a 6½-furlong-to-one mile specialist in this stage of her career, Breeders' Cup dreams are not dead in the filly's camp, but are not on the immediate agenda.  In this, ruled out as a possible next start is the Grade II $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes on Oct. 4 – which has impressively produced the past five winners of the seven-furlong Grade I Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint – because of its six panels, a distance her connections believe is no longer within My Option's competitive scope.
David ZennerSenior Manager of Communications
Arlington International Racecourse
2200 W. Euclid Ave. Arlington Heights IL 60006-0007
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