2014 Modesty Handicap Preview

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Modesty (War Dance - Ballet) won the first American Derby (a race also on today’s program, which is a feeder to the G1 Secretariat), in 1884 under the guidance of Hall of Fame rider (and Prairie State Festival stakes race namesake) Isaac Murphy, defeating males at the first Washington Park on Chicago's south side. Run since the 1940s, but on turf since the 1960s, past dirt winners have included Indian Maid (who has a Hawthorne stakes named for her). Past turf winners have included G1 winner Tuscan Evening and double winner Gaily Gaily.

Run at 1 3/16 miles on the turf for a pot of $200,000 and situated four weeks out from the Arlington Million, this G3 serves as a local prep race, with the G1 Beverly D. the Million Day goal. Older fillies and mares will take to the Arlington grass course in one of four G3 co-features (all linked by an all stakes pick four) on the July 12 Arlington Million Preview Day program.

Advance weather conditions are for seasonable temperatures with afternoon highs around eighty degrees. However, there is an 80% chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Afternoon thunderstorms could drench the course or Arlington might escape with not a drop. Selections are made “turf only”, but hold whether soft or firm or in between. At publish time, the rail will be set to Lane 5, sixty-two feet from zero.

Arlington International -- Race 10 -- G3 Modesty Handicap-- 1 3/16 miles on turf -- post time 5:25pm CT

An overflow field is signed up for the Modesty, with positives and negatives on most of the runners. One could construe this race as a glorified three-other-than allowance based on most of the entrants. One runner eligible for the N3X condition is DANCE AGAIN, the top selection. She cleared the N2X condition last time at Woodbine, earning a solid figure and shipping south for trainer Malcolm Pierce and owner Sam-Son farm, the same people who brought you G1 winner Up With The Birds. Winner at a mile and an eighth, she has a solid record over the Woodbine grass course, a course very similar to the Arlington course. Up in Canada, she won an Ontario-bred stakes and two of her three career wins are there. We’ll tab her as she’s got that sneaky horse-for-course angle, goes third off the layoff, and would not be rattled if the course had give as she was third in a G2 on “good” ground three back. EVERY WAY comes in for the hot local jockey/trainer team of James Graham and Michael Stidham, and she was second in an off-turf stakes last time in Minnesota. Back at Arlington, she finished ahead of next-out G3 Arlington Matron winner La Tia two back and goes third off the layoff. Ran second at nine furlongs last fall in the G3 Pucker Up over the local oval, but that win in the Pucker Up by I’M ALREADY SEXY was over a hard course that favored speed. Don’t think the course is that way this go-round, and she also would be fine with cut in the ground. GULSARY comes into today’s effort off a second in the Keertana Stakes over at Churchill. The team on last year’s Beverly D. runner Marketing Mix -- rider Gary Stevens, trainer Tom Proctor, owner Glen Hill Farm, have this runner that hasn’t gotten a win photo since last fall. But she’s nibbled in races like the G3 Frankel and Megahertz out west and the Keertana out east. The connections will draw money, but she has been stabled and working at Arlington since exiting that three turn stakes placing. Worth noting trainer Tom Proctor has seven wins and nine money finishes in eighteen Arlington starts this meet.

Selections:

#7 DANCE AGAIN (15/1)
#3 EVERY WAY (15/1)
#4 GULSARY (4/1)

Longshot: Remember two years ago when Ioya Bigtime blew up the tote board in the Stars and Stripes with Ioya Bigtime? The half-sister to Ioya Bigtime is herself someone who came in at a price in a division of last year’s Hatoof Stakes, and the stars are aligning for that again. #10 I O IRELAND (30/1) is bred superbly for this event, a half to the aforementioned twelve furlong winner and the daughter of a Modesty winner herself. I O IRELAND finished three-quarters of a length behind KEPI last time in a slow-paced mile race on the local grass and still closed well to be second. Upside is here on this one, with I O IRELAND getting a longer distance (was a mile too short?). But having trainer Chris Block (the trainer of those two tote bombs and himself a solid turf trainer) might offset a Modesty in which the favorites aren’t cinches.

(This piece is jointly submitted for Thorofan's "Handicapper's Corner".)

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