06/02/2009 12:00AM

Allowance race could propel Ciao into Modesty


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - There were only six horses entered in the main body of the featured ninth race Thursday at Arlington Park, but one of them is Ciao, who ranks among the best Chicago-based grass females of the last couple seasons. Ciao makes her first start of 2009 in this high-end grass allowance race, and if she shows the same kind of improvement from last year to this as she did from 2007 to 2008, Ciao could be a player in the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap here next month.

Ciao, trained by Frank Kirby for owner-breeder Iron County Farms, has been somewhat inconsistent through a 16-start career, but many of her races in 2007 and 2008 came on wet turf courses, and Ciao probably prefers firmer going. At her best, she came within a half-length of winning the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill in the fall of 2007, and last Sept. 27 at Hawthorne, she scored a nice victory in the $115,000 Indian Maid Handicap.

Ciao rallied from 10th after breaking from a wide post in the 2008 Modesty, which was run over soft turf, and with smooth progress starting in Thursday's comeback race, she may have a chance to be a player in the 2009 Modesty.

Off her established class, Ciao should be a handful in the Thursday feature, which is carded for 1 1/16 miles. And judging from a long string of morning works capped by a six-furlong Polytrack drill in 1:11.60 on May 24, Ciao is ready for her first start of the season.

Boudoir, who set the pace and faded in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron on May 23, is entered for the main track only, and two others in the race, Lawn and Laguna Plateada, look better suited to Polytrack than turf. Sun for Fun has a good career record, especially on turf, but two of her five wins came in Illinois-bred races. Trainer Tom Proctor has two for the race: Positively Charming should set the pace from the rail, while Creative Design is 2 for 2 on the Arlington grass course.

Karlsson may return to races Thursday

Inez Karlsson is named to ride Ciao, and her agent, Penny Ffitch-Heyes, said Karlsson is hopeful of returning to action on Thursday's card.

Karlsson has not ridden during races or training since May 25, when she was thrown to the Polytrack after her mount, Parade Summer Girl, broke down in the stretch run of a low-level claimer. Karlsson checked out negative for broken bones or internal injuries, but did not even attempt to ride last weekend because of lingering soreness.

Ffitch-Heyes said that pain in one of Karlsson's shoulders had subsided, and that Karlsson planned to work horses Wednesday in preparation for riding Thursday.

Alvarado faces penalty for Sunday ride

Co-leading rider Junior Alvarado is facing either a suspension or a $1,500 fine after being disqualified from second to fifth for bumping Tarva while riding Guanahani during the stretch run of the eighth race Sunday. With dark days Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, stewards are expected to issue a ruling on the incident Thursday, according to Alvarado's agent, Oscar Sanchez.

Alvarado had a good run last week, but was caught atop the jockey standings by James Graham, who won one race Friday, two Saturday, and capped off his weekend with a four-bagger Sunday. Both Graham and Alvarado have 23 wins entering Thursday's action, with E.T. Baird at 22 wins, and Chris Emigh at 20.

Canani now training for Calabrese

Trainer Nick Canani is in and trainer Rick Slomkowski is out of the operation of major owner Frank Calabrese.

Calabrese began this Arlington meet with horses split between Slomkowski and trainer Danny Miller, but while Miller retains his slot in the organization, Slomkowski - who went 4 for 13 here - no longer trains for Calabrese.

Much the same thing happened in 2008, when Slomkowski had a handful of Calabrese horses not being handled by trainer Wayne Catalano, but lost his spot during the Arlington meet.

Canani had not saddled a horse this year before taking over the Calabrese horses. In 2008, Canani had five winners, and in 2007 he won 19 races.