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Contact: Graham Ross
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Saturday, September 23, 2000
98th Day


Thank heaven for little girls - especially the equine variety! Two-year-olds - the hope of the future in the thoroughbred world - have traditionally been showcased in the final days of the season at Arlington International and the 2000 meeting is no exception.

The 66th running of the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie, centerpiece of the season for two-year-old fillies, to be contested at the one-mile distance, highlights the last day of Arlington's 103-day current season on September 30.

Admission to Chicago's premier thoroughbred oval will be free that Saturday afternoon. A free fireworks show that will commence shortly after the last race that evening will be Arlington's way of thanking their guests for their support throughout the summer.

For the more sophisticated racing fans, however, it will be the Lassie that lights up the day. The late Allen Paulson used Arlington's Lassie as part of his campaign for Eliza in 1992. That youngster went on to win an Eclipse Award as Two-Year-Old Filly Champion.

Thunderhead Farm's Mariah's Storm won the Lassie the following season, and parlayed that into a score in the Arlington Oaks in 1994 and the Arlington Matron the year after that.

Who is likely for this year's Lassie? Both the winner and the runner-up in the $75,000 Top Flight, who finished a nose apart on September 9 in the final local prep for this Fan Appreciation Day feature.

Brian Griggs & Mike Goetz' She's a Devil Due was the victress in the Top Flight. Making the third start of her career, the undefeated daughter of Devil His Due was void of early foot while racing well off the rail, circled the leaders when set down for the drive and was just up in the final jump.

The Kentucky-bred had used similar late running tactics when breaking her maiden and then winning out of "non-winners of two" company earlier in the season, and should appreciate the added quarter-mile distance of the Lassie.

James W. Orr Jr.'s Dare She Goes, allowed to settle just off the early pace that day, assumed command shortly after the furlong marker when the pacesetter tired and then just failed to withstand She's a Devil Due in the last stride. The daughter of Dare and Go out of a Majestic Light mare had broken her maiden by three and a half-lengths at previous asking.

Carl F. Pollard's Caressing, a brilliant seven-length winner of River Downs' $100,000 Bassinet September 2 after drawing off in the late stages, had broken her maiden at previous asking at Ellis Park in August and is expected for the Lassie.

Pin Oak Stable's Costly Crown, second by a half at last asking in the $100,000 Ellis Park Debutante August 12, came from far back early in that seven-furlong test and just missed. Trainer Hal Wiggins is looking at the Lassie for her next start.

Stronach Stable's Montana Cat, most recently second in Woodbine's $86,000 Silver Deputy over muddy going, had broken her maiden by a length and a quarter on August 12 at the Ontario oval. Trainer Tino Attard is eyeing the Lassie for his Kentucky-bred Canadian campaigner.

James Tafel LLC's Scoop, a Gene Cilio trainee who broke her maiden here August 12 and was then fourth in the Top Flight, is also being considered for the Lassie. Cilio is currently the leading trainer of two-year-old starters at Arlington.

Tom Stephens, George Reeves & Jerry Hendrickson's Pionjewel, who tallied by four and a half in the $25,000 Afstammeling Stakes at Great Lakes Downs September 9, completes the list of early prospects for the Lassie.

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