Upperline scores in Arlington Matron

Stone Farm, John H

Stone Farm, John H. Adger, Oakcrest Farm and trainer Michael Stidham's Upperline was content to stalk the early pace set by Hooh Why in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Arlington Matron over the Polytrack at Arlington Park, but asserted her authority in the lane to take over and draw off for a four-length win. Jockey James Graham had piloting duties aboard the Maria's Mon mare, and the duo completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:51 3/5 to return $5.80, $3.80 and $2.60.

Hooh Why led the way on the backstretch through splits of :24 2/5, :48 3/5 and 1:13 3/5 while Sea Level Drive kept pace just off her flank. Kathmanblu ran in tandem with Upperline as Graham settled his 9-5 favorite down on the rail behind Hooh Why. The quartet maintained their positions until reaching the final turn, when Ariana D ran up to the outside of Sea Level Drive.

It was three across the track as Hooh Why hit the lane, but Graham kept Upperline on the inside as Sea Level Drive began backing up. The savvy rider angled his mount off the rail and sent her after Hooh Why, and the bay mare easily reeled in the pacesetter to grab command and pull away.

"She broke sharp today but somebody else wanted the lead, so I sat right off her," Graham said. "She picked up when she got room and off she went to the wire. I never had a worry at all. She kept finding and finding and finding more, picking it up late."

Hooh Why held well to take second by 1 3/4 lengths over Ariana D, while Hemera came with a game late run to fill the fourth spot. La Gran Bailadora, second in last year's running of the Arlington Matron, was next, while Sea Level Drive and Kathmanblue completed the order under the wire.

"What an honest mare," stated Hooh Why's rider, Francisco Torres. "I tried to slow it down as much as I could, and preserve as much as I could because you get paid late, not early. I can't fault her, she showed up and she tried hard, we just got outrun."

Upperline easily avenged her fourth-placing in last season's Arlington Matron with this win, which improved her scorecard to 20-8-4-2, $585,308. The bay five-year-old has been a hard-knocking sort, racking up wins in the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes, Grade 3 Arlington Oaks, Trillium Stakes, Bayou Handicap and Allen LaCombe Memorial Handicap during her four seasons on track. She also boasts five black-type placings on her resume, including the Grade 2 Golden Rod and Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes.

Bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable, Upperline is out of the Irish-bred Caerleon mare Snowflake, who ran second in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes in 2001, and has a stakes-winning four-year-old half-sister named Snow Fall. The siblings' second dam is the Reference Point mare Ivyanna, who captured the Group 1 Oaks d'Italia in 1992.

This black-type rich female line also includes Grade 1 scorer An Act and Group 2 victor Distinction, who placed in two editions of the Group 1 Gold Cup. Upperline's fourth dam is noted matron Durga.

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