Updated on 09/18/2011 1:03AM

Arlington: Pretty Jenny closes strong

David Zenner
Pretty Jenny wins the Fit for a Queen Stakes by a length at Arlington Park on Saturday.

Jockey Ariel Smith had never sat astride Pretty Jenny before Saturday afternoon at Arlington Park. But with Smith aboard, Pretty Jenny did something she'd never done before - take dirt in her face while rating off the pace and come home with a strong finish. That was the right kind of trip for the Fit for a Queen Stakes, and Pretty Jenny edged a game Maggie Jordan to win by a length.

The early pace in the six-furlong Fit for a Queen was hot - Guiding Star, Tax Refund, and Silver Crown went the opening quarter-mile in 22.39 seconds, the half in 44.90 - and in earlier times, Pretty Jenny would have been part of it. The first-call leader in her first five starts last season, Pretty Jenny won four of those races, but did it with raw speed, rather than professionalism. This time, she sat sixth, then fifth on the backstretch, moved outside around the far turn, and came with a powerful stretch run to get up yards before the finish. Pretty Jenny paid $6.80 to win after a late betting surge made her the favorite, and was timed in a strong 1:09.36. Tax Refund held on for third.

"Ariel did a great job," said winning trainer Christine Janks. "He followed my instructions."

Smith, spending his first season here, has been riding most of the Wayne Catalano-trained horses, but has started picking up mounts for other outfits. A win in this $41,750 overnight stakes should boost his business.