07/07/2008 11:00PM

Forever Together ruled out of Modesty


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - In a fairly serious blow to the race, Forever Together was declared out of Saturday's $150,000 Modesty Handicap on Tuesday by trainer Jonathan Sheppard. So, while the Modesty may still get a field larger than average when the race is drawn Wednesday, it will go without the one starter with top-class potential in the female turf division.

Forever Together would have been the favorite in the Grade 3 Modesty, off her fine, troubled third-place finish last out in the Grade 1 Just a Game at Belmont Park. Sheppard had been pointing Forever Together to a two-race Arlington stint, with the Modesty hopefully leading to a run in the Grade 1 Beverly D. next month. But Forever Together, who had breezed July 4 at Delaware, got sick this week and will be forced to miss Saturday's race.

"It's nothing major, but we noticed the last few days she had a little nasal discharge," Sheppard said. "She wasn't coughing, but breathing a little heavier. The vet looked at her, and she may have a little sinus infection. To put her on a van when it's this hot and then go run a hard race wouldn't be a good idea."

Sheppard said that if Forever Together shakes her bug in a timely fashion and can soon resume training, she will be pointed to the Diana Handicap on July 26 at Saratoga.

Forever Together was one of the top early season 3-year-old dirt fillies of 2007, but her form slipped the second half of last season and she had lost five races in a row before Sheppard switched her to grass. Forever Together shipped to Arlington from Keeneland and impressively won an overnight turf stakes here May 17, and she was beaten less than two lengths by Ventura in the Just a Game despite getting hung up in traffic when jockey Ramon Dominguez was ready to make his move.

Tizdejavu to American Derby

First Gio Ponti, then Meal Penalty: possible American Derby starters were dropping like flies. But at least trainer Greg Fox confirmed his intention to start Tizdejavu, the Midwest's leading 3-year-old turf horse at the moment, in Saturday's race.

Fox said he had originally planned to put Tizdejavu on a van from Kentucky to Chicago on Tuesday, but decided to ship Wednesday to avoid the worst heat this week. Tizdejavu will walk Thursday, jog Friday, and start as the likely favorite Saturday.

Waiting for him here is Prime Realestate, who may rank as the top locally based 3-year-old grass horse, now that Meal Penalty, the Arlington Classic winner, is headed out of town. Prime Realestate twice ran in $80,000 maiden claimers over the winter in Florida, but trainer Wayne Catalano would not risk the horse for a tag at this moment.

"This horse is training really, really good right now," said Catalano, who has won with 29 of his 58 starters this meet.

Prime Realestate won a Keeneland turf allowance race and was a wide, fast-closing second in the May 24 Arlington Classic, a race Catalano believes his horse should have won.

"I think he was much the best there," Catalano said.

Prime Realestate has posted four timed workouts since his last start, most recently working seven furlongs on July 4 in 1:27, with a final quarter-mile in about 23 seconds, according to Catalano.

Churchill jockeys heading elsewhere

Most summers, the Arlington jockey colony gets deeper and stronger a week or 10 days after the end of the Churchill Downs summer meet. After taking a bit of time following Churchill, a few top Kentucky jockeys typically make their way to Chicago for the rest of the Arlington season - but not this year.

Leading Churchill jockey Robby Albarado, who has come to Arlington the last several seasons, is going to Saratoga. So are Jamie Theriot, Shaun Bridgmohan, and Julien Leparoux. Miguel Mena, second in the Churchill standings, will shift his tack to Presque Isle, and in the end, the competition for Arlington mounts will not heat up the way it has in Julys past.