Upperline attempting to be fourth horse to complete Arlington Oaks-Matron double
Stone Farm, John Adger, Oakcrest Farm and Mike Stidham’s Upperline, who won the Grade III Arlington Oaks two years ago during her sophomore campaign, will be staying at home to attempt a rare double by winning Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Matron for fillies and mares over the local Polytrack at nine furlongs, trainer Mike Stidham said Wednesday morning during training hours.
“It looks like we’re going to stay right here at home,” Stidham said. “We were thinking about going to New York and running in Saturday’s Sheepshead Bay , but they’ve had a lot of rain up there this week and it looks like there’s a chance of more rain before this weekend.
“(Upperline) doesn’t really care for a soft turf course,” Stidham said, “and that’s too long a trip to make if she wouldn’t be able to perform at her best. Besides, anytime you ship I think it takes something out of your horse. That’s why I think we want to stay right here.”
Should Upperline win Saturday’s Matron here, she would elevate herself into some rare air in Arlington racing history. When Thunderhead Farms’ Mariah’s Storm won the Arlington Matron in 1995, she had won the Arlington Oaks the previous year and Arlington-Washington Lassie as a juvenile two years earlier. She remains the only filly in history to win all three of those local classics.
Previously, when Russell L. Reineman Stable’s Sweetest Chant won the Arlington Matron in 1982 as a 4-year-old, she had won the Arlington Oaks the previous year and became the first horse to capture both races.
Since then, in 2000, trainer John Hennig brought J. C. Routsong’s Megans Bluff to Chicago to win the Arlington Oaks and then brought her back up to the Windy City to win the Arlington Matron with her later during her sophomore summer.
On Saturday, Upperline could become the fourth horse join that group with an Arlington Matron win.
One mare who won’t get a chance to become the fifth horse in history to win the Arlington Matron in successive seasons is the 2011 Arlington Matron heroine Pachattack, now owned by Flaxman Holdings and trained by Graham Motion.
“I’m afraid we’re going to have to skip it,” said Motion’s stable manager Jane Buchanan Wednesday morning, speaking over the phone from Maryland ’s Fair Hill training center. “Graham doesn’t feel she’s quite ready to give her best effort in the Matron, and I’m afraid that’s also true of (Earle Mack’s) Clarinet. We’re going to have to miss it with both of them.”
However, Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stable’s Kathmanblu, Tracy Farmer’s La Gran Bailadora and Green Lantern Stables’ Sea Level Drive, second, third and fourth respectively behind Pachattack in Keeneland’s Grade III Doubledogdare Stakes over Keeneland’s Polytrack April 20, are all expected to run in Saturday’s Arlington Matron.
Kathmanblu, who was beaten only a neck by Pachattack in the Doubledogdare after racing wide, won Fair Grounds’ Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes as a sophomore and then ran third in that spring’s Grade I Ashland at Keeneland.