08/01/2006 12:00AM

Leah's Secret tough obstacle for 'Gillian'


CHICAGO - Christine Janks has won 22 races at the Arlington meet, third best among trainers, and has tallied victories with a vast array of horses, but For Gillian has been left out. A four-time winner, For Gillian is 0 for 4 in 2006, and has lost twice at the Arlington meet, most recently finishing sixth in the Grade 3 Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 17. If For Gillian is to join the ranks of Janks winners at Arlington, she is going to have to find a way to beat Leah's Secret in the eighth race on Thursday.

The Thursday feature drew a field of seven, and is carded for fourth-level allowance horses or $80,000 claimers at seven furlongs on dirt. Sara's Tune and Aroarable run for the tag, the other four under allowance conditions.

For Gillian hasn't won since last fall at Hawthorne, where she captured a third-level allowance race, but she likes Arlington, too. Last June and July she ran through her first and second allowance conditions here, winning one-turn miles comparable in their demands on a racehorse to Thursday's seven-furlong distance. Freshened since her failed stakes attempt, For Gillian has posted three recent works and gets the services of leading rider Chris Emigh.

, in from Churchill for trainer Helen Pitts, was among the first 2-year-olds of the year to race in 2005, debuting in April with a troubled fourth in a Keeneland maiden race, but it took more than a year for Leah's Secret to race again. Leah's Secret easily cleared the maiden ranks in her comeback race, and after a solid enough third in her first start with winners has reeled off two more wins. She beat entry-level allowance foes by more than six lengths in a powerhouse victory June 8 at Churchill, and came back with a game win over older horses there in the $61,000 Lazer Show on July 4. In that overnight stakes win, Leah's Secret overcame a tough trip from the rail, and on Thursday she and Mark Guidry could find clear sailing from an outside draw.

There's not an overwhelming amount of speed in the race, but several horses might try to sneak off to the lead; early and middle pace battles could lead to an upset from , who won her most recent start and typically makes the last run in her sprint races.