La Tia takes on 7 in the Arlington Matron Stakes.

La Tia takes on 7 in the Arlington Matron Stakes.

Four Footed Fotos

La Tia Faces Matron Invader Moment in Dixie

Arlington specialist could have work cut out for her with invader's first visit.

Arlington International Racecourse specialist La Tia is after her second grade III victory, but could have her work cut out for her May 24 when invader Moment in Dixie heads to the Chicagoland oval for the $150,000 Arlington Matron Stakes (gr. III).

La Tia, a 5-year-old daughter of City Place who runs for Hernandez Racing Club and trainer Armando De la Cerda, won the Arlington Oaks (gr. III) as a 3-year-old going 1 1/8 miles over the Arlington Polytrack, and also took the one-mile Purple Violet over the course earlier that same summer. In the fall she went on to win the La Lorgnette Stakes at Woodbine, and she returned last year to take home the Lincoln Heritage Handicap at Arlington against fellow state-breds in June, her most recent win. 

Returning from a six-month layoff after a fifth in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) and a fourth in the Canadian (Can-IIT) among her six starts last year, La Tia was second in a tough 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Arlington May 9. E. T. Baird picks up the mount from the 3 hole as part of a 116-pound impost in a field of eight distaffers.

Phillips Racing Partnership's Moment in Dixie, a James Toner-trained daughter of Dixieland Band, was runner-up by a neck in the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland in her Polytrack debut April 18. The 5-year-old mare has been competitive at this level but looks back to last July for her most recent victory, a seven-furlong allowance event on the dirt at Saratoga Race Course. She will be ridden by Julien Leparoux from post 7 and also carries 116.

Highweight in the field is I Dazzle, who races for The Farm on 4, Brent Gasaway, and Michael Stidham, who also trains the 6-year-old Hold That Tiger mare. Winner of her first two outs this season at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, I Dazzle looks to rebound after faltering to 11th in the April 24 Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) going 1 1/2 miles on the Keeneland turf. She carries 118 with recent Arlington addition Sheldon Russell in the irons from the 5 hole.

Among those slated to race is Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Awesome Flower. The 5-year-old daughter of Flower Alley was a five-time winner last year including a pair of $100,000 stakes races—the Lady Canterbury on dirt and the Listed HBPA on the Presque Isle Downs synthetic surface. Florent Geroux will ride the Mike Maker-trained mare from post 4.

G. Watt Humphrey's Frivolous has had some success on Polytrack, winning an allowance race at Keeneland last time out and finishing second in last year's Arlington Oaks (gr. III). Trained by Victoria Oliver, the 4-year-old Empire Maker  filly will be ridden by James Graham from the 2 slot.
Completing the field are Lothenbach Stables' Ambusher for trainer Ian Wilkes; James Greene and Hurstland Farms' Heart of Destiny for Alex Clarkson; and E. A. Cox Jr.'s Naples Gold, trained by Ben Colebrook.
$150,000 Arlington Matron Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, approximate post 4 p.m. CDT), Fillies & Mares 3YOs & Up, 1 1/8 miles (All Weather Track)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Ambusher (KY), L.R. Goncalves, 116, I R Wilkes
2. Frivolous (KY), J. Graham, 116, V H Oliver
3. La Tia (IL), E.T. Baird, 116, A De La Cerda
4. Awesome Flower (MD), F. Geroux, 116, M J Maker
5. I Dazzle (LA), S. Russell, 118, M Stidham
6. Heart of Destiny (KY), R. B Homeister, Jr., 116, A Clarkson
7. Moment in Dixie (KY), J.R. Leparoux, 116, J J Toner
8. Naples Gold (KY), C. Hill, 116, B Colebrook