Updated on 09/17/2011 7:06PM

Draw makes Meadow Bride tough


CHICAGO - The human connections of the Illinois-bred 2-year-old filly Arizona Rose looked forward to stretching their horse out to two turns Saturday at Hawthorne in the $100,000 Pat Whitworth Debutante. What they certainly did not envision was running farther than the other horses in the race.

The Debutante is carded for 1 1/16 miles, but from post 12, Arizona Rose could end up going longer. And there is little wiggle room to accommodate a wide trip, not with Arizona Rose's primary rivals breaking from better spots. Meadow Bride has post 3, and the luck of the draw has made her the filly to beat in the Debutante.

The 13-horse field in the Debutante includes five maidens, but absent are the two best statebred fillies of their generation, the graded stakes winner Toll Taker and the unbeaten Bluesbdancing. Toll Taker is in Florida with trainer Tim Hills, while Bluesbdancing wasn't made eligible for the Debutante.

Bluesbdancing easily won the Nov. 13 Showtime Deb Stakes; the next four finishers from that race return in the Debutante. Arizona Rose finished fourth in that race behind Meadow Bride and Cart's Turn, but looked like the best stretchout candidate - until her bad luck at the draw.

All jockey Jesse Campbell can really do is drop back, look for a spot, and hope a fast pace gives Arizona Rose a chance to close. The filly, by Western Playboy, has been finishing well in sprints, and her trainer, Mike Weissman, expects the same in route races.

"She's a big filly. I've always thought she'd run long," said Weissman, who trains Arizona Rose for owner-breeder Richard Perkins.

Meadow Bride finished fourth in her career debut Sept. 25 at Hawthorne, but quickly moved forward to win a statebred maiden race by more than seven lengths a month later. She was caught four wide in the Showtime Debut ran on steadily to get second, a half-length ahead of Cart's Turn, and 1 1/4 lengths in front of Arizona Rose.

The maiden Cart's Jannie might be suited to two turns, but she would have to move up mightily off a pair of losses in sprints.

A more logical upset candidate would be Capistrano, who won her career debut in a sprint here a week ago. But Capistrano, while bred to run two turns, drew just as badly as Arizona Rose, and will break from post 13 under jockey Seth Martinez.