Zosima, the juvenile filly whose name would appear last alphabetically among this year's crop of the 2-year-olds racing under the Darley banner, may end up first in their hearts. The daughter of Capote, a homebred out of the Miswaki mare Grafin, is two-for-three so far in her promising young career and is slated to make her next start in the Arlington- Washington Lassie (gr. III) Sept. 27, closing day of the 2003 Arlington Park season. The $100,000 main event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season for 2-year-old fillies is run out of Arlington's one-mile chute around one turn. "Zosima is doing very well and we are looking forward to running her in the Lassie," said Dave Duggan, the assistant to trainer Eoin Harty who is in charge of Darley's day-to-day operations at Arlington. "Unfortunately, both of our most advanced colts – Old Kent Road and Rosencrans – have suffered setbacks so we won't have anything running in the Futurity." The Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III), Arlington's centerpiece for young colts and geldings, will also be run on closing day this year.While no other male or female youngsters are quite ready to step up stakes competition locally for Darley, Zosima will have to carry the banner.In her last trip to the post Aug. 17, Zosima was allowed to settle early in an allowance sprint at six furlongs, challenged for command approaching the lane and drew off after the eighth pole for a two-length tally. Before that the Kentucky-bred filly had finished second, 3 1/2 lengths behind the winning Sweet Jo Jo but 10 lengths to the good of the third horse, in the $53,200 Silverm Maiden Stakes at Arlington July 27. Zosima broke had broken her maiden at first asking on July 4. "She's improved in every race she's run," said Duggan, "but we're still teaching her what to do. In that race she lost, we didn't really want to take on the winner too early because she was a speed filly and we had to teach our filly to relax. She has learned her lessons so far."
"The mile distance of the Lassie should help her," Duggan said. "I've been around the filly since Dubai last winter, and she's always impressed me as the kind of filly who wants to go on. We'll breeze her five-eighths on Monday, and that will about be it for her before the Lassie."