With a crowd of more than 30,000 awaiting the fireworks show Saturday night at Arlington Park, Upperline provided some big noise herself while winning the Grade III, $100,000 Arlington Oaks by a widening 43/4 lengths.
Ridden by Rolling Meadows grad E.T. Baird and trained by Miami native Michael Stidham, Upperline won for the first time in four starts this season. Three of those starts were in graded events.
Returning from a three-month layoff, Upperline covered the 11/8 miles on Polytrack in 1:52.13 as the 2-1 co-second favorite.
Favored Snow Top Mountain, also 2-1, ran second ahead of 6-1 Dundalk Dust and 2-1 Chantilly Nayla.
"We thought (Upperline) was a quality horse from the start," said Stidham, a Palatine resident who is a part owner of Upperline with Arthur Hancock III, John Adger and Jack and Theresa Hodge. "We could see that even in her early workouts when she would run against other 2-year-olds."
Stidham plans to run Upperline next in Arlington's Grade III Pucker Up Stakes on Sept. 6.
"I think she is capable of being a real good one," said Stidham, who also won the Grade III Arlington Matron (Tizaqueena) and $100,000 Arlington Classic (Workin For Hop). "I think you'll see some really big things as she gets older."
After the Pucker Up, Upperline's future will probably be on the turf.
"She is better on the turf," Stidham said.
Baird also rode Tizaqueena for Stidham in the Matron.
"Mike (Stidham) and Hilary (assistant Pridham) do a great job," Baird said. "I like to ride for them because they know what is going on."
Arlington's leading owner Frank Calabrese (3 wins Saturday after 31 heading into the week) congratulated Stidham on the big win after the race.
"When she was drawing away, I said she looks like one of Frank Calabrese's horses," Stidham told Calabrese with a big smile.