Well-bred maidens, from Illinois and beyond
Saturday's second race at Arlington, a five-and-a-half furlong polytrack dash for Illinois-bred juvenile fillies, abounded with nice Illinois breeding. Six fillies made their unveiling, including Speed Devil (a half-sister to stakes winners Puntsville and Devileye) and Julie Be Quick (whose dam, Julie Be Good, is half to G3 winner Summer Mis). However, when all was said and done, the win picture went to Larry Rivelli trainee Jean Elizabeth (Adios Charlie - Rooney Doodle, by Lit de Justice), who popped sharply out of the gate for rider Julio Felix and took an easy lead. Never seriously challenged, she crossed the wire three lengths clear of Strollin the Bayou. Bred by Larry Rivelli and Richard Ravin, Jean Elizabeth races for them in partnership with V- Leaf Stables. Though dam Rooney Doodle hasn't had the big stakes horse yet -- her only black type runner so far is Hollarforadollar (Bring the Heat), second in the 2015 Pretty Jenny at Hawthorne -- her babies have seen no shortage of success in Chicago. Unscathed (Bring the Heat) and What's Up Dude (First Dude) are both three-time winners this summer at Arlington. Rooney Doodle's other foals to race, Hollarfordollar and Nevrmesswithrichie (Bring the Heat), are both multiple winners as well.
In Sunday's fifth race, a full sister to Illinois-bred sire Fort Prado's best runner finally got off the mark. Three-year-old filly Tannah'blu (Fort Prado - Excellent Idea, by General Meeting), a full sister to Grade 3 winner Prado's Sweet Ride, had found four starts against open maiden fillies a little over her head. But, she had begun to figure it out against state-bred company. The Chris Block trainee finished second behind easy winner Curlinup in her first try against Illinois company on July 16, then was second again behind wire-to-wire winner Mallory's Channel two weeks later. Her third time against Illinois-breds, going a mile on the grass, was the charm. The Darrell and Sadie Brommer homebred waited at the back of the pack early while favoured Sea Diva and rank longshot Logi fought it out up front. Rider Jose Valdivia, Jr. guided her around the field through the far turn, and though Sea Diva tried to go with her down the stretch, Tannah'blu left her to make a futile chase. She crossed the wire four and a quarter lengths clear.
Victory was an even longer time coming for another well-bred filly to run at Arlington this weekend. Though Summer Bird daughter Jete Ete is Kentucky-bred, her dam was a familiar face at Arlington: Chic Dancer (Joyeux Danseur) won several stakes races on the Chicago circuit, including the 2006 Modesty Handicap (G3). In the breeding shed, Chic Dancer is best known for producing Her Emmynency (Successful Appeal), winner of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1). Four-year-old Jete Ete, trained by Michele Boyce for owner-breeders S. D. Brilie Limited Partnership, had come close to her graduation day a few times. She dropped in for a claiming tag for the first time on July 29, and though she finished second behind well-meant Ignacio Correas trainee Na Pali Spirit, she ran well enough to suggest that the move from special weight to $20,000 company may be what she needed. Jete Ete returned to that level in Friday's fourth race at Arlington, going a mile and a sixteenth on grass. She tracked near the back of the small pack, inched forward three wide around the far turn, and then showed more tenacity down the stretch than one could typically expect from a horse making her seventeenth try in maiden company. She spent the final furlong in tight between leader Silvera on her inside and Altered Mind on her outside, and got pinballed in between those when Silvera came out. Yet, Jete Ete bulled her way through and hit the wire a head in front of Silvera.
Few horses love the Arlington polytrack as much as Dayin Deauville (Sightseeing - La Muette, by Luhuk). The five-year-old mare, owned and trained by Ingrid Mason, has nine wins to her name -- and seven have come on the Arlington main. A sprinter, Dayin Deauville held on to win a mile race on July 22 with grit and surface affinity to substitute for stamina. She returned in Thursday's third race at a more suitable distance, six and a half furlongs, against conditioned $5,000 claiming company. Though she was formidable on the cutback, it quickly became clear that Dayin Deauville would have to work for this one. She typically does her best work on or near the lead, but she got bumped around out of the gate and made it nowhere near the front. Instead, it was Je Suis Belle who darted to a large early lead, with a rank Dayin Deauville tracking the pace between horses. She dropped back to seventh position in a field of eight through the far turn, angled between horses, and found room in the stretch. Entering the final furlong, she was still in fifth position. Je Suis Belle was getting leg-weary, but Dayin Deauville had three and a half lengths to make up. Rider Julio Felix had her going, though: she blew past Je Suis Belle in the final seventy yards, and hit the wire three quarters of a length clear of rail-rallying Fahionably Late. Dayin Deauville had no easy trip, was knocked completely off her usual forward running style, and still got there.
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