06/10/2009 11:00PM

Lack of pace hurts Communique

Photos by Z/Keeneland
Communique will carry 11 fewer pounds than Lady Carlock.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. Both Communique and Lady Carlock have won graded stakes races on turf. You Go West Girl is a stakes winner with a bankroll of more than $300,000. These are the most accomplished horses in the $50,000 Possibly Perfect Stakes on Saturday at Arlington Park, but what none of them has is speed.

In fact, none of the seven horses in the Possibly Perfect, a 1 1/8-mile grass race, possesses anything close to front-running tendencies. Picking the most talented horses in the race is not that hard, but envisioning how the Possibly Perfect will unfold seems considerably more difficult.

All things being equal, Communique rates an edge over Lady Carlock but things are not equal in the Possibly Perfect. Under the race s allowance conditions, Lady Carlock, who won the Grade 3 Suwannee River this past February at Gulfstream, must tote 126 pounds. Communique has not won since she captured the Grade 3 Modesty here last summer, and gets in at a feathery 115 pounds.

Lady Carlock, trained by Carl Nafzger, overcame a slow pace when she won the Suwannee River, but as a closer who tends to rally wide, she is somewhat at the mercy of pace and trip. The same thing is true of Communique, whose form has been darkened by a quarter-crack issue late last year and tough trips in her two most recent starts. At her best, Communique has a powerful late run powerful enough to carry her to a good second-place finish last summer in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes.

Without any speed, it puts her in a tough situation, said trainer Rusty Arnold. She needs a little help up front, and she hasn t been getting it.

Communique has been working steadily at Arnold s Keeneland base, and her connections are eyeing a return to the Modesty and the Beverly D. if Communique can turn things around.

I feel like she s coming back to her form of last summer, Arnold said. I d like to make those races again.

Cherokee Queen has never been a first-call leader in her eight-race career, but her tactical speed could actually land her on the lead Saturday. Cherokee Queen probably was best in a second-level turf allowance here May 23, and is back in from trainer Graham Motion s small Keeneland string for Saturday s overnight stakes.

You Go West Girl comes out of a third behind graded-stakes-class I Lost My Choo in a New York-bred turf stakes last month, and though she, too, lacks speed, You Go West Girl might get first run on deep closers like Lady Carlock and Communique.