05/22/2013 3:19PM

Arlington: Matron may be one of Hooh Why's last starts

Barbara D. Livingston
Hooh Why (right), second in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf, will race a couple times while in foal to Leroidesanimaux.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Hooh Why, it turns out, will not actually race forever.

A 7-year-old mare with 51 starts, Hooh Why is in foal to Leroidesanimaux and has only a couple more runs left in her racing career before going on to life as a broodmare. One of them could come Saturday in the Arlington Matron, which drew Hooh Why and eight other entrants when it was drawn Wednesday.

The Matron is part of the first day of stakes racing at the Arlington meet, sharing headlines Saturday with two other Grade 3, $150,000 races, the Arlington Classic for 3-year-olds on turf, and the Hanshin Cup, a one-turn Polytrack mile for older horses.

Hooh Why has often been an underdog during a long, highly successful career. She won her debut at odds of 38-1 here at Arlington in July 2008, and was 24-1 when she upset the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland the following spring. The most successful offspring of the $3,500 Florida stallion Cloud Hopping, Hooh Why has won 12 races from 51 starts while finishing third or better in 32 of 48 races on turf or synthetic surfaces. Her bankroll has surpassed $1.2 million, and while Hooh Why might have lost a step or two through the years, she remains a capable racehorse, having won the $75,000 Distaff Turf Stakes for Florida-breds in her most recent start April 6 at Tampa Bay Downs. But now the end of her racing days is drawing near.

“She’s due to foal Jan. 15,” said co-owner Mark Hoffman, who also has played a major part in Hooh Why’s day-to-day training. Hoffman has campaigned Hooh Why since she began racing as a 2-year-old, shipping her around the country in his own van. “I didn’t want to wait and breed her when she was 8. I wanted to start getting some babies from her. I’ll let her race a couple more times. She’ll let me know when she’s ready to stop, but she’s not ready yet. She’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse for me, and she’s as sound as when she first stepped on the track as a 2-year-old. She loves to train, and she loves to run.”

Hoffman has always considered all possible options – no matter how distant from his home base – for Hooh Why, and he said the mare is not a certain starter in the Matron, with the Trillium Stakes next month at Woodbine also on his radar.

“I don’t want to be running for second or third money,” he said. “I only have a couple bullets left to fire.”

Hooh Why, however, appears to fit as well as any horse in the Matron, which also includes Lotta Lovin, Ice Cream Silence, Ausus, Distorted Legacy, Absolute Crackers, Imposing Grace, Diva’s Diamond, and Sisterhood.

The Arlington Classic, first leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple, attracted 12 entrants and figures to have Admiral Kitten, second in the American Turf last out, and Fordubai, second in the Illinois Derby, as favorites. Lexington Stakes runner-up General Election also will run, while the talented colt Bambazonki drew poorly in post 12.

Highlighted by the first start of the year for 2012 New Orleans Handicap winner Nates Mineshaft, the Hanshin Cup was drawn with a field of 10. Hammer’s Terror, Mister Marti Gras, and Seruni might be the most likely winners if Nates Mineshaft comes up short in his first run since finishing third in the Stephen Foster Handicap last June 16. Nates Mineshaft, to be ridden for the first time by E.T. Baird, drew well in post 6.

◗ There are five allowance races on Friday’s race card, which came up the best weekday program so far this Arlington meet. First post is at 3 p.m. Central.