The fields for Arlington's trio of Ladies Day stakes have been drawn, and the Grade III Pucker Up for sophomore fillies on grass is easily Saturday's most intriguing event. Champion filly Dreaming of Anna, who was last seen wiring the $210,000 Virginia Oaks, headlines a field of 13 for the 9-furlong event, but her task will not be any easy one. Pitamakan and You Go West Girl, the 1-2 finishers in the locally run Hatoof Stakes, Euro invaders Touch My Soul and Testama, and the undefeated West Coast Swing all appear capable of providing a serious challenge. On paper, three 2-year-old fillies stand out among the 11 entered for the Grade III Arlington Washington Lassie. Wonderful Luck is proven on synthetics, Honest to Betsy has the class edge, and Dreaming of Liz was simply brilliant in a recent maiden score.
Many believe that "Liz" will follow in the hoofsteps of her mother Silver Maiden (1997) and win this race. But she's inexperienced and must overcome an extreme outside post to do it. She could be special.
The Euro invader Eat Pie also appears to fit the spot extremely well. The others are all taking a shot, but this race has been won by longshots in the past, including Lisa M last year and Mooolight Sonata back in 2002. This year's potential upsetter could be Pretty Persuasion. She won at first asking around two turns on turf, which is no easy task, and she overcame some adversity to do so. Trainer Mike Stidham is excellent with 2-year-olds, and he won this race in 2004 with Culinary.
The classy Asi Siempre was supposed to start in the Grade III Arlingon Matron, but a foot bruise put the brakes on those plans. She potentially scared away a few good prospects, and the connections of the six remaining females must be glad things worked out the way they did.
With over $500,000 in the bank, Eyes On Eddy is the class of the field, but her two most recent appearances were nothing to write home about. Coolwind is right at home at Arlington, having won all five of her career starts here. She's versatile, is proven on Polytrack and may have a tactical advantage in what appears to be a paceless race. Round Heels is a turf horse by trade, but the best run of her career may have come in the Grade II Bayakoya over Hollywood's cushion track last winter. She was second that day at 39-1, and a return to that race would make her tough to beat here.
Best bet: Medicine Eyes (2nd)
Price play: Lovely Love (8th)
Check out Joe Kristufek' Arlington ParkCast audio files at www.arlingtonpark.com