07/18/2013 3:06PM

Arlington Oaks: Seaneen Girl better than season record indicates


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Seaneen Girl has lost all five of her starts this season, but she still probably deserves to be favored in the Grade 3, $150,000 Arlington Oaks on Saturday.

Seaneen Girl made her seasonal debut in the Fair Grounds Oaks, finishing a solid third to Unlimited Budget and talented Flashy Gray. More recently, she was second to the good filly Fiftyshadesofhay in the June 29 Iowa Oaks, and Seaneen Girl’s two below-form performances, a seventh in the Regret Stakes and ninth in the Kentucky Oaks, both come with excuses – at least from the viewpoint of trainer Bernie Flint.

“In the Regret she got hemmed in. When you got a wall of horses in front of you, you either jump over or pull up,” Flint said. “In the Oaks, it was 100,000 screaming people that got to her. You can’t duplicate that in schooling. She’s a very kind filly, and she just got terrified.”

There will be no such onslaught of crowd noise Saturday at Arlington, but there are capable rivals waiting in the Oaks. The promising Sky Girl makes her stakes and two-turn debut after a pair of sharp Churchill victories. Illinois-bred La Tia won the 2012 Oaks, and two Illinois-breds this year, My Option and Bold Kitten, both have a chance.

Seaneen Girl makes her first synthetic-surface start since she finished second last fall at Woodbine in the Grade 3 Mazarine. Seaneen Girl’s two subpar showings this year came in her only tries at the Oaks’s 1 1/8-mile distance, but Flint said the trip is of little concern.

“The farther they go the better for her,” he said.

That is the same message jockey Corey Lanerie delivered to trainer Paul McGee after Sky Girl won her pair of Churchill races – one at one mile, the other at seven furlongs – by open lengths.

“The stretch-out should be nothing but positive for her,” McGee said. “She showed good speed in her maiden win. Moving to two turns, I’d expect her to be close to the lead.”

Sky Girl’s wins came on dirt, but she ran well over Keeneland’s Polytrack in her career debut, and is by noted all-weather sire Sky Mesa.

My Option moved early into a hot pace in the June 1 Lincoln Heritage Stakes for Illinois-breds, a one-turn mile, and was nailed late by Bold Kitten. When the pair met in a Hawthorne route race last fall, however, My Option proved much the best. Trainer Wayne Catalano said he believes Bold Kitten, a daughter of Kitten’s Joy, can be equally effective over a route of ground, and also sends out 2012 Arlington-Washington Lassie winner Gold Edge, who is beginning to regain her form after a slow start to her 2013 campaign.