Illinois Champ Two Item Limit Makes First Visit

Joseph Graffeo's Two Item Limit comes from her East Coast headquarters to head the field in the co-featured $42,000 Unique Type Handicap Saturday at Arlington.

Two Item Limit is an Illinois-bred 4-year-old filly voted Illinois Horse of the Year in each of the last two seasons, yet has never raced in Illinois.

Those two titles, along with Illinois 2-year-old filly honors in 2000 and Illinois 3-year-old filly laurels last year, have been based on her accomplishments at the national level of competition.

Last year, for instance, Two Item Limit was third in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Belmont Park, beaten by only 1-1/4 length.

This year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park Oct. 26, remains a possibility again for and Two Item Limit pending her performance in Saturday's Unique Type.

"Saturday's race should serve two purposes," said trainer Stephen L. DiMauro, who arrived from his New York headquarters Thursday night. The filly had vanned in to Arlington Park Wednesday morning.

"First, we wanted to find a spot for her that she could win and get her confidence back," said DiMauro. "Second, if she runs as well as she should in that spot, and gets her confidence back, she'll have a race over the track that will set her up for the Breeders' Cup."

Two Item Limit needs a confidence builder. After finishing a good third to Summer Colony in the Delaware Handicap (gr. III) by 2 1/2 lengths, Two Item Limit ran an uncharacteristic fifth, beaten more than 25 lengths, to that same rival in the Personal Ensign (gr. I) in her last start.

"She just ran a bad race," said DiMauro. "I'm not blaming anybody, but I think that track was a little on the loose side that day, and she just didn't handle it.

"Richie (jockey Migliore), who knows the horse, told me she just didn't feel right, and he didn't ask her after that," said DiMauro. "That was exactly what I would have wanted him to do in a situation like that. Her hind end was real sensitive after the race. She ran a race like that in the Mother Goose (gr. I) when she was a 3-year-old, when she seemed to lose her hind end and all her action. She finished ninth that day.

"Anyway, she seems fine now," said DiMauro. "She trained (Friday) morning, and she went fine. I just wanted to show her the track here. She shipped well and I expect her to run well.

"I hope I'm doing the right thing," said DiMauro. "We performed laser therapy on her and she has responded to it. When she started to come around, it had me looking for a race for her to get her confidence back and this one (restricted to Illinois-breds) seemed like a good spot. So here we are."

Two Item Limit will shoulder the top impost of 124 pounds in the Unique Type, including leading rider and defending Arlington jockey champion Rene Douglas.

Opponents Saturday include Joseph Marovich LLC & Crown's Way Farm's Shemya, 115; Robert & Lauren Hoffman & Jerry L. Picklin's Gonandunit, 112; George D. Michalson's Magic Motel, 116; Cutshall Racing LLC's Buba's Caper, 115; and Emerald Ridge Farm's Something Wicked, 113.