07/02/2008 11:00PM

Choragus may follow in quality footsteps


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Her name is Choragus, but the name she brings to mind is Vacare, and if Choragus turns out anywhere near as well as her predecessor, she will be all right.

Vacare was bred and owned by Bob Lothenbach and trained by Chris Block when she made her career debut in June 2006. She won by four lengths in a maiden turf race, and did not lose again the rest of the season, capping off an unblemished four-start campaign with a victory in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

Vacare - sold privately in the autumn of 2006 - is middle-distance on turf, and Choragus has so far raced only short on dirt and on Polytrack, but like Vacare, Choragus is a Lothenbach-owned homebred trained by Block, and she will try to climb another rung on the class ladder in the $50,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes on Saturday at Arlington.

Considering it's an overnight race, the Sweetest Chant has some teeth. Multiple Grade 1-placed A to the Croft is entered, as is Dreaming of Liz, who has gone 3 for 4 racing on Arlington's Polytrack. Tiz to Dream exits a pair of graded Kentucky stakes, and none of the others - Elle Tish Slew, Temper Temper, Yankee Doodle Girl, and Distorted Passion - is chopped liver.

But those who recall Vacare's ascent from entry-level allowance to Grade 3 stakes here at Arlington will be especially interested to see what Choragus can do. Block said a couple of weeks ago that the Sweetest Chant, contested over 1 1/16 miles, seemed an ideal two-turn test for Choragus, who won her six-furlong career debut by almost seven lengths at Hawthorne, and was best by almost five in a seven-furlong allowance race here May 16. By Harlan's Holiday, Choragas has a pedigree and relaxed style that suggest two turns will not be an issue, and her work pattern for the Sweetest Chant - reaching its zenith with a 1:24 seven-furlong move June 24 - appears about flawless.

A to the Croft, meanwhile, has so far not shown great development from age 2 to 3, and is back to Polytrack after a pair of turf tries. Tiz to Dream didn't really fire when she chugged home fifth in the Dogwood on May 31 at Churchill, but she won her only start around two turns, and did so on a synthetic track. Dreaming of Liz captured the Arlington-Washington Lassie last fall, wired an off-the-turf overnight stakes earlier this meet, and figures to go straight to the front under Earlie Fires.