07/09/2013 4:24PM

Matz making rare Arlington visit, bringing Colonial Flag for Modesty

Michael Burns
Colonial Flag was a Grade 3 winner last year and placed in two other graded turf stakes.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Trainer Michael Matz hasn't had a runner at Arlington since 2004, and during his entire career has started only one horse at the suburban Chicago track, but Matz can only hope things work out as well this weekend with Colonial Flag as they did in his other two trips here.

In 2003, Matz took down the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes with Kicken Kris, who one year later was promoted from second to first when Powerscourt was disqualified from the Arlington Million.

Colonial Flag was one of just six older fillies and mares considered likely starters for the Grade 3, $200,000 Modesty by the Arlington racing office early this week. She flies here Wednesday night from Maryland in the company of another Modesty ship-in, the Graham Motion-trained filly Strathnaver. Barring the surprise entry of another heavy-hitter, those two and the locally based front-runner La Tia will be the favorites in the 1 3/16-mile turf race.

The Modesty is one of four graded turf stakes on a Saturday card to be drawn Wednesday.

Colonial Flag bears at least some superficial resemblance to Somali Lemonade, also trained by Matz. Both are 4-year-olds grass fillies, and both got a somewhat late start to their 2013 season, Somali Lemonade returning to action in a Belmont Park allowance race she lost before winning the $250,000 Penny Stakes at Parx Racing on July 2. Colonial Flag, a Grade 3 winner last year who placed in two other graded turf stakes, made her seasonal debut June 8 in the Mint Julep Handicap at Churchill Downs, finishing third behind Miz Ida (who came back with a good second in the Penny) and Grade 1 winner Daisy Devine.

"I hope this works out like it did with Somali Lemonade. Sometimes a race is worth 10 works," Matz said.

A daughter of Pleasant Tap, Colonial Flag appeared only to be scraping the surface of her raw ability at times last year. Matz thinks she can improve this season and did not shy from saying the Grade 1 Beverly D. here would be a consideration for the filly were she to perform well Saturday.

"She's a very big horse, rangy, and I would think with her pedigree, that while she did well as a 3-year-old, she could be better as a 4-year-old," Matz said Tuesday. "We stopped on her last year, turned her out, gave her a nice long break, tried to let her grow up. We'll find out if we did the right thing."