07/19/2012 2:14PM

Arlington Park: Treasured Up earning her way out

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – For a while, the $450,000 owner B. Wayne Hughes paid at auction for the filly Treasured Up looked like good money thrown to the wind.

When Treasured Up finally made her career debut, late in her 2-year-old season last December, she finished second in a maiden race at humble Turfway Park. But since Treasured Up began running two turns on turf and Polytrack, she has begun to close the gap on her heavy price tag, and the filly has a decent chance to win a graded stakes when she faces seven foes Saturday in the $150,000 Arlington Oaks.

“She’s a big, long-legged, stretchy filly,” said trainer Al Stall. “She’s just been chipping away this year, and I think she should be a good older horse.”

Following the Turfway race, Treasured Up joined Stall’s main winter string at Fair Grounds, where she finished a distant third to the fast filly Avie’s Sense in a dirt route, then won a two-turn turf race. A first-level route allowance score over Keeneland Polytrack in April put the Grade 3 Arlington Oaks on Stall’s radar.

“Ever since she won that race at Keeneland we’ve had this spot in mind,” he said.

Treasured Up exits a good third-place finish behind the talented Centre Court in the Grade 3 Regret Stakes, and while that race was on turf, it demonstrated that Treasured Up, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, can handle the 1 1/8-mile distance of Saturday’s Oaks.

Stall also will run Ire, an improving Political Force filly owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider who nearly won the Mariah’s Storm Stakes here last month despite a troubled trip.

“She’s just kind of earned her way into this spot,” Stall said.

The Mariah’s Storm winner, Lady Candidate, didn’t run as well in that victory as she had in a blowout first-level allowance score here May 25, a performance that earned Lady Candidate a 98 Beyer Speed Figure.

“I think she did bounce, and I don’t think she really cared for the Polytrack last time,” said trainer Mike Stidham. “The day she won so impressively it was a tight, firmer type of track, not like the last time at all. She’s training well enough. Her coat and weight are good, and personally, I think she’ll handle the distance.”

Lady Candidate has natural route speed and figures to show it from post 1, but La Tia, a sharp Illinois-bred stakes winner last out, also will attend the pace.

Sky Dreamer, a Woodbine shipper for trainer Mark Casse, also merits attention, and appears to have come significantly forward with the addition of blinkers three starts ago.