07/06/2004 11:00PM

Last Song shortens up for return


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Last Song is coming to Arlington Park for her first start since the Kentucky Oaks, and it is a beefed-up model of the classy 3-year-old filly that vans to Chicago on Thursday morning. Last Song will arrive from Kentucky later Thursday and start Friday in the eighth race, a third-level allowance with a $62,500 claiming option.

finished ninth in the Oaks, a sharp decline from her peak spring form. Wintering in Florida, she was fourth, beaten a half-length in the Davona Dale, and won the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss by two lengths over Society Selection. Her third in the Grade 1 Ashland looked okay, but there were only four horses in that race, and Last Song barely picked up her feet 27 days later in the Oaks.

"We were disappointed," said Ian Wilkes, assistant to Carl Nafzger, who trains Last Song for Three Roses LLC. "Maybe she was an immature filly then. She's a bit stronger now. She was always light, but she's put on a little weight."

Friday's race, at a one-turn mile, is a point of departure for Last Song, who will return to stakes racing if she has a solid performance. But Wilkes could not say where she might be headed. "I want to get this race into her and then determine it," he said.

For the first time, Last Song faces older fillies and mares, and there might be a good one among her opponents. Tamweel makes her first start for trainer Wayne Catalano, who flew to California last month after the owner Mark Cornett of Turf Express Inc. heard she was for sale. Catalano gave Tamweel a test drive, liked what he felt, and gave thumbs up to a private purchase by Turf Express and Darrell and Evelyn Yates.

"She was very good, very strong," said Catalano. "She worked really good here, too."

, a Gulch filly, began her career in England and raced only on turf for her first nine starts. But in her dirt debut June 10 at Hollywood, she won a second-level allowance by more than two lengths.

Tamweel has some speed, but the mare starting outside her, Balla Twine, should go for the lead. Last Song will race from a stalking position and should be close to Mini Brush, a two-length winner here last out who is perhaps at her best running one-turn miles at Arlington.