05/20/2010 11:00PM

Difficult pair to separate in American Guineas


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Queen of the Creek last started in an allowance race at Keeneland while Bay to Bay comes out of a the Grade 3 Appalachian Stakes there. But which filly is a better grass miler figures to be an issue hotly contested at the betting windows Saturday at Arlington Park.

Queen of the Creek and Bay to Bay were among nine horses entered in the third edition of the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies. Bay to Bay, who arrived here early Thursday from trainer Brian Lynch's Woodbine base, had a successful 2009 campaign, winning the Grade 3 Natalma over one mile at Woodbine on Sept. 19. On April 15 at Keeneland, she rallied from seventh in the early going to finish second by three-quarters of a length -- and well clear of third -- in the Appalachian. Lynch said Bay to Bay "is doing really well" and "had two nice works" since the Keeneland race, and with about five weeks between starts, concern lessens over a second-race-of-the-season bounce.

While Bay to Bay closed up nicely in the Appalachian, she displayed a handier pressing style in her 2-year-old races and could return to those tactics Saturday.

"I just think that race at Keeneland, she might have been a little rusty at the start," Lynch said. "I would say having had that start she should put herself into the race a little more quickly."

Queen of the Creek makes her stakes debut for trainer Tom Proctor - and looks ready for it. Queen of the Creek lost her career debut sprinting on Polytrack last fall but has turned in impressive middle-distance turf wins in her two starts since, the first last fall at Churchill, the more recent April 8 at Keeneland. Queen of the Creek overcame post 10 in those victories, and though somewhat headstrong in the early going both times, she settled well enough to blast away from her rivals coming into the stretch.

Chantilly Nayla makes her first start since being privately purchased and turned over to trainer Wayne Catalano, who adds blinkers to the filly's race equipment Saturday. Chantilly Nayla "kind of goes sideways," Catalano said, explaining his decision to fit the filly with blinkers. Sideways or not, Chantilly Nayla has proved amazingly versatile: She has won on the lead going 4 1/2 furlongs and coming from behind a slow pace in a two-turn turf mile -- and in just seven career starts, Chantilly Nayla has posted wins on dirt, turf, and Polytrack.