A competitive field of older fillies and mares, including previous Arlington Park graded stakes winner Upperline, grade I winner Hooh Why, and 2011 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) contender Kathmanblu, comprise the lineup for the May 26 Arlington Matron Stakes (gr. III) at Arlington Park.
The $150,000, 1 1/8-mile contest is slated for 4:16 p.m. and will be run over Arlington’s Polytrack surface.
Stone Farm, John Adger, Oakcrest Farm, and Mike Stidham's Upperline, who won the Arlington Oaks (gr. III) during her sophomore campaign in 2010, will attempt a rare double by also winning the Arlington Matron.
“We were thinking about going to New York and running in (the May 26) Sheepshead Bay (gr. IIT, at Belmont Park), but they've had a lot of rain up there this week and it looks like there's a chance of more rain before this weekend,” said Stidham, who also trains the daughter of Maria's Mon.
"(Upperline) doesn't really care for a soft turf course and that's too long a trip to make if she wouldn't be able to perform at her best. Besides, anytime you ship I think it takes something out of your horse. That's why I think we want to stay right here."
If Upperline can pull off the May 26 feat, she will be written into Arlington’s history books as just the fourth horse to win both the Matron and the Oaks. The other fillies to accomplish the double were Mariah’s Storm, Sweetest Chant, and Megan’s Bluff.
Upperline will enter the Matron off a victory in the April 26 Grey Goose Bewitch (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland. Bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable, she holds an overall record of 7-4-2 from 19 starts for earnings of $497,108.
The bay mare, who is out of the Caerleon mare Snowflake, will be ridden by jockey James Graham and will carry the co-highest weight of 123 pounds. They drew post 3.
Also toting 123 pounds in the Matron is millionaire Hooh Why. Owned by the Estate of Gail Gee, Mark Hoffman, and Earl Trosturd Jr., the daughter of Cloud Hopping—Magic Merger, by Corporate Report, made headlines when winning the 2009 Ashland Stakes (gr. I).
Hooh Why has scored in four other stakes since then, including the 2010 Seaway Stakes (Can-III) on Polytrack at Woodbine, and this year’s Florida Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Stakes at Gulfstream Park (Jan. 28), and First Dude Turf Distaff at Tampa Bay Downs (April 7).
Bred in Florida by Gee and trained by Shirley Girten-Drake, Hooh Why has a seasoned career record of 11-8-7 from 39 starts. She will be ridden for the first time by jockey Francisco Torres and will break from post 4.
Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stable's Kathmanblu, Tracy Farmer's La Gran Bailadora, and Green Lantern Stables' Sea Level Drive, who were second, third, and fourth, respectively, behind Pachattack in the April 20 Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) over Keeneland's Polytrack, are also in the Matron field.
Kathmanblu, who was beaten only a neck by Pachattack after racing wide, captured the 2010 Golden Rod (gr. III) and 2011 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III), and ran a respectable third in last spring's Ashland.
Bred in Kentucky by Five D Thoroughbreds, the daughter of Bluegrass Cat sports an overall record of 5-3-2 from 15 tries for earnings of $581,762. She will break from post 6 under jockey Corey Lanerie.
$150,000 Arlington Matron (gr. III, race 7, 4:16 p.m.), fillies and mares, 3 years old and up, 1 1/8 miles (Polytrack)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Hemera (KY), F Geroux, 116, G Dorochenko
2. La Gran Bailadora (KY), S Bridgmohan, 116, M J Maker
3. Upperline (KY), J Graham, 123, M Stidham
4. Hooh Why (FL), F C Torres, 123, M L Reavis
5. Ariana D (PA), W Martinez, 116, A McKeever
6. Kathmanblu (KY), C J Lanerie, 116, K G McPeek
7. Sea Level Drive (KY), R B Homeister, Jr., 116, G R Arnold, II