08/09/2004 12:00AM

My Sweet Heart back after long layoff


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - You will not have to wait long for the highest-class race at Arlington Park on Wednesday. But for the best horse in it, the wait has been long, indeed.

It has been 10 months since a jockey was given a leg up on My Sweet Heart and the filly sent was out to race. She makes her comeback in Wednesday's first race, a second-level Illinois-bred allowance at one mile on dirt.

has won only two races and about $41,000, but she still has a claim to fame, as the younger sister of the Kentucky Derby winner, War Emblem. Frank "Bobby" Springer, War Emblem's first trainer, trains My Sweet Heart for the Russell Reineman Stable, War Emblem's original owner.

Mr. Reineman has passed away since My Sweet Heart last raced. In Japan, War Emblem has been reluctant to participate in his stallion duties, leaving his career as a sire a question mark. But all is not gloom and doom. My Sweet Heart has been logging regular workouts for the first start of her 4-year-old season, and Springer seems to have the filly where he wants her.

My Sweet Heart won her career debut last May, suffered a pair of defeats, and then won a first-level statebred allowance by more than 11 lengths. But after two more races, she was out of action.

"Her feet were bothering her, and her back - she just was sore," Springer said. "We gave her time, and since she came back, she's been no problem."

My Sweet Heart has run poorly in two turf races. On dirt, she is much more comfortable, and a mile, to date, has been her game. Wednesday, she is ideally drawn in post 6, with one horse to her outside. James Graham, who has just lost his apprentice weight allowance, has the mount.

My Sweet Heart has at least one worthy opponent. Journey Fever, a 3-year-old, is tackling older fillies and mares for the first time and is a stakes winner of more than $158,000. And like My Sweet Heart, she has won a one-turn mile at Arlington.

also returns from a layoff, but her break has been much shorter, her last race having been a fourth-place finish April 10 in the Lady Hallie at Hawthorne. Journey Fever stayed busy as a 2-year-old, racing nine times, and some would suggest she has failed to progress at 3. But though Journey Fever has not done so much as finish third in four starts this season, she was matched against graded stakes-level horses in three of those races. A statebred allowance will be much more to her liking.