Edouard de Rothschild's England's Legend, wire-to-wire victress in the Beverly D. (gr. IT) here last August, makes her first start of the year as the highweight and likely favorite in Saturday's $150,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT), part of the Million Preview Day troika of stakes races.
The Modesty Handicap is the final local prep for this year's Beverly D. on Aug. 17 and will be run at the Beverly D. distance of a 1 3/16 miles on the turf. The Modesty will share the spotlight with the Arlington Handicap (gr. III) and the $100,000 Round Table Stakes.
A 5-year-old daughter of Lure, England's Legend made headlines last summer when she cruised to a front-stepping 7 3/4-length score in the Beverly D. over a yielding turf course to earn her second straight graded stakes tally. Following the Beverly D., the Christophe Clement-trained mare finished second to Lailani in the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park. She closed out her campaign with an 11th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) after making the pace for a mile in the 10-furlong event. Rene Douglas, Arlington's leading jockey, picks up the mount aboard England's Legend, who will spot her eight rivals from six to nine pounds.
Slated to face the favorite are (with weight assignment and jockey): Richard Duchossois' Innit (115 pounds, Frank Lovato Jr.); Team Block's Ioya Two (115, Mark Guidry); Gary Tanaka's Polaire (115, Pat Valenzuela); Russell Reineman Stable's Lady of Peace (114, Larry Sterling Jr.); William Farish's Quick Tip (114, Robby Albarado); Helga Duffy's True Ruby (113, James Lopez); Frederick Seitz's Apasionata Sonata (112, Craig Perret); and Martyn Burke's Esyoueffcee (112, Chris Emigh).
Trainer Chris Block comes to the Modesty with a strong hand as the local conditioner will saddle both Innit and defending champion Ioya Two.
Innit, recently sent to Block by Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally, is an Irish-bred daughter of Distinctly North. Winner of the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park in July 2001 during her sophomore campaign, the now 4-year-old filly ran fourth in the Royal Heroine Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood July 6.
Ioya Two, a nose victress last year, looks to rebound from a sub-par fourth-place finish in the $87,150 Lincoln Heritage Handicap on June 22, a race which she had won the previous two years. The 7-year-old daughter of Lord At War is in search of her first score of the year and will be reunited with jockey Mark Guidry, who was aboard for last year's Modesty win.
Polaire takes a second stab at the Modesty after finishing fifth in last year's renewal. The 6-year-old Polish Patriot mare is winless in five starts this year but has been racing almost exclusively in graded stakes competition. Last out the Donald Burke II trainee finished fifth, a length behind Innit, in the Royal Heroine.
Lady of Peace hopes to make it two in a row over the Arlington turf. The 5-year-old daughter of Lord At War won the $45,000 Possibly Perfect over this course on July 4 for her first victory in six starts this year.