09/01/2005 11:00PM

Cape Town Lass fits well in marathon


CHICAGO - The last time she raced 1 1/2 miles, Cape Town Lass beat everyone in the Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland except for Angara. Suffice it to say there are no Angaras in the $40,000 Claire Marine Stakes on Sunday at Arlington Park.

The Bewitch is in April, and Angara went on to win the Beverly D. Handicap here last month. Cape Town Lass, meanwhile, has lost four in a row, but not because she ran so badly. Her efforts in the Mint Julep and Locust Grove at Churchill were slightly sub-par, but even though she finished seventh in the Modesty at Arlington, was beaten less than three lengths. In a fourth-level allowance race Aug. 7, Cape Town Lass finished second, but she closed well, and just couldn't catch up to the sharp filly Chic Dancer.

The common denominator in this string of losses? Distance. Cape Town Lass typically falls far back early in middle-distance turf races. If the pace is slow, or there's traffic, she's in trouble. Going farther, say 1 1/2 miles, is the equalizer.

"A mile and a half is the key," said trainer Paul McGee. "I know it won't hurt her, and if anything it will help her."

When Cape Town Lass lost to Chic Dancer, she raced from closer to the pace than in any of her recent starts. McGee said he thinks that might have dulled her closing kick, but establishing decent tactical position will help in the Claire Marine, which has seven horses and no real speed. Beau Happy finished behind Cape Town Lass in the recent allowance race, but has more speed than her, and might wind up in front by default. finished third behind Cape Town Lass in the Bewitch, but has never won a turf race. Baxter Hall was fourth in a third-level allowance race last out at Saratoga, but finished second in her lone try at 1 1/2 miles.

Lord of the Game tries turf

Claimed for $10,000 out of his career debut, Lord of the Game always was eligible for starter-allowance races, and trainer Tom Tomillo is exercising that option Sunday. Lord of the Game was entered in a $10,000 starter race on turf, and Tomillo said he intends to run even if the race remains on grass.

Lord of the Game never has tried turf, but worked five furlongs on it last week.

"He needs to do something right now," Tomillo said.