Chicago Barn to Wire


Arlington Park Stakes advance

Contact: David Zenner (847) 385-7535


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Oct. 4, 2001) -- Kentucky-based stakes winner Asher tops a field of seven distaffers entered for Saturday's $150,000 Arlington Matron at Arlington Park. The Grade III Matron, at a mile and an eighth on the main track, is the final graded event on Arlington's 2001 stakes schedule.

Asher, who races in the colors of Dan White & Pepper Tree Farms, has won four of eight trips to the post this year for seasonal earnings in excess of a quarter of a million dollars. In addition to taking the Gardenia, the 4-year-old Mountain Cat filly captured the Paseana and Pippin stakes at Oaklawn Park and the Diamond Trail Stakes at Prairie Meadows. Last time out, the Ron Moquett-trained miss faded to seventh after pressing the pace in the Grade III Turfway Park Breeders' Cup on Kentucky Cup Day Sept. 22. Asher will carry highweight of 116 pounds and will be ridden by Sidney LeJeune, who was aboard for three of her four 2001 scores.

Slated to face Asher (with weight assignment and jockey) are: G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s Lady Melesi, 115 pounds, Marlon St. Julien; Gary A. Tanaka's Humble Clerk, 114, Larry Melancon; Yoshio Fujita's Maltese Superb, 113, Rene Douglas; Northwest Farms' Taste the Passion, 113, Frank Lovato Jr.; Wendy's Ten Partnership's Instinct, 112, Eddie Martin Jr.; and James Tafel LLC's Lakenheath, 111, Corey Lanerie.

Lady Melesi comes into the Matron looking for her third victory of the season but first since winning the $100,000 Lady Hallie Handicap at Sportsman's Park in April. Prior to her local score, the George "Rusty" Arnold-trained daughter of Colonial Affair captured a restricted $100,000 stakes race at Gulfstream Park on the Florida Derby day undercard. She has raced four times since those victories with her best finish coming when second best in the Grade III Sixty Sails Handicap at Sportsman's.

Humble Clerk, who ran second beaten a head in the $45,000 Mariah's Storm last time out, is one for five this year, her victory being a seven-length tally in a $57,000 allowance contest at Churchill Downs in June.

Maltese Superb could go over the million-dollar mark in career earnings with a victory in the Matron. The daughter of With Approval is two for five this year. Last time out, the Carl Bowman pupil faded to third behind Rose of Zollern after setting the pace for nearly three-quarters of a mile in the one-mile HBPA Handicap.

Trainer Richard Lundy, who recently announced that he will become private trainer for the Paraneck Stable of Ernie Paragallo, has two horses entered in the Matron. Taste the Passion, though winless this year, has been competitive in minor stakes races with a pair of runner-up finishes and a third last time out in the Mariah's Storm. Instinct, who has done most of her racing this year on the turf, won the $50,000 Top Corsage Stakes by a nose on the dirt last time out Sept. 22.

Lakenheath, the only 3-year-old in the race, is making her second start since a fifth-place finish in the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in April. In her return to action, the Gene Cilio-trained daughter of Colonial Affair ran fourth in the Mariah's Storm Sept. 9.

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