James Tafel LLC's Lakenheath challenged front-running favorite With Ability turning for home and battled her down the stretch to prevail by a head in the Arlington Matron (gr. III) on Monday at muddy Arlington Park. Chris Emigh rode the homebred daughter of Colonial Affair, who went the 1 1/8 mile in 1:50.
"Going into the first turn, I was sitting about second or third," Emigh said. "A couple of others came on the outside of me and I had to make a decision whether to let them go or try to stay up there in second by myself."I followed (With Ability) around there and she hung in tough. I got a little in front and she kept trying to come back. My filly was getting a little tired but she wouldn't give up."Earlier in the year, Lakenheath finished second to With Ability in the Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Sportsman's Park. But trainer Gene Cilio felt his filly had matured since their previous meeting."She was a little uncertain of herself at two and three, but at four she's really come around," said Cilio. "With Ability beat us handily in the Sixty Sails but our filly is getting to know more of what she has to do. She went right after her today and beat a very game filly. She broke her maiden here at two going a mile on the same type of racetrack as she caught today."
With Ability, the 13-10 choice of the holiday crowd of 8,060, broke on top and led through fractions of 23.92 seconds for the opening quarter, 46.86 seconds for the half, and three-quarters of a mile in 1:11.10. "It was a big race for my horse," said Robby Albarado, who rode the beaten favorite for trainer Mark Hennig. "I had everything go my way. She ran out late so I just got outstrided. She did get over th track very nicely."It was 10 1/2 lengths back to third-place finisher Your Out. Miss Pickums and Extend completed the order of finish.Lakenheath earned $90,000 to boost her bankroll to $423,276 from a record of five wins, three seconds and a third in 19 starts. She returned $8.40, $3.60 and $2.20. With Ability paid $3 and $2.20. Your Out paid $2.20.(Chart, Equibase)