05/21/2012 1:49PM

Arlilngton: Lady Chesterfield blooming on synthetic


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – The first 14 starts of Lady Chesterfield’s career came on turf (11 races) and dirt (three starts), but it is race number 15 that’s most meaningful in relation to Arlington’s featured second race Wednesday.

On April 27 at Keeneland, Lady Chesterfield ran for the first time on a synthetic surface – Polytrack, in this case – and her performance level jumped forward. Lady Chesterfield finished a troubled second in that start and has come back to post two strong-looking morning drills over Arlington’s Polytrack, and she appears to have a good chance to score her second win of 2012 on Wednesday.

“She seems to love it, and she’s gotten better and better since she got on it,” trainer Mike Stidham said of Lady Chesterfield’s switch to synthetic. “She’s been on the improve since she moved to Poly, and she had a really good work the other day.”

Lady Chesterfield is one of six fillies and mares entered to run one mile in a race with a couple of high-end allowance conditions and also open to $100,000 claimers. But for significant trouble in the stretch run last month at Keeneland, Lady Chesterfield might already have cleared her third allowance condition. Racing along the inside, she was boxed in with nowhere to run about an eighth of a mile from the finish, with jockey James Graham having to put on the brakes and swing a couple paths to the outside for room. The incident cost Lady Chesterfield precious momentum and, perhaps, victory.

“She had enough trouble that maybe with a better trip she wins it,” said Stidham.

Three of Lady Chesterfield’s opponents exit layoffs ranging from more than a year to a few months. Among that trio, Peyote Patty has the best chance. A 7-year-old Cactus Ridge mare trained by Chris Block, Peyote Patty has ranked among the better older Illinois mares of recent seasons, and she has won 4 of 6 starts over Arlington’s main track.

Maude S also can win, though it’s not certain her good dirt form will transfer to synthetic, over which she has failed to win in four tries. But Maude S did successfully stretch out to a two-turn route in her most recent start at Hawthorne and should suit Wednesday’s one-turn mile.,