07/07/2009 12:00AM

Pure Clan looking fully recovered

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Barbara D. Livingston
Pure Clan has gotten over a bruised foot.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - If your horse gets a bruised foot right before an important stakes race, it can blow up weeks, even months, of the best-laid plans. The bruised foot Pure Clan suffered this past spring cost her 30 days or so of training, but it could have come at a far worse time.

Pure Clan has designs on major filly and mare grass races in 2009, and major filly and mare grass races tend to come up with greater frequency the second half of the year. The hoof bruise delayed Pure Clan's 2009 debut until the June 6 Mint Julep Handicap at Churchill Downs, but couple the way she finished in that start with her excellent 2008 form at age 3, and Pure Clan begins to look like a force with which to be reckoned in the older female turf division the rest of this year.

If she runs well Saturday in the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington, in which Pure Clan is likely to be favored, she will be set up for a start next month in the Beverly D. Stakes, as well as a late-summer and fall campaign that could well end with a return trip to the Breeders' Cup. And Pure Clan has some redemption to dish out, Breeders' Cup-wise: She finished 10th in the BC Filly and Mare Turf last fall, the only time in a 12-start, six-win career that she has been worse than third.

Pure Clan was unbeaten in four starts at age 2, and was Grade 1-placed on dirt last year before winning the Grade 1 American Oaks on turf. That's a juicy resume, and there may still be more to come.

"She's developed a lot from 3 to 4," said trainer Bob Holthus

Holthus said Pure Clan "breezed a couple times at Oaklawn before we left," and was being pointed to the Distaff Turf Mile on Derby Day at Churchill Downs before the foot problem stalled her preparation. In her comeback race last month, Pure Clan employed her customary tactics: wait near the back of the field, and come with a big run. It nearly worked. Pure Clan finished about as fast as a horse can finish, but classy Acoma got the jump on her, and held on to win by a neck.

Pure Clan has since logged three timed workouts, and she will ship to Arlington on Thursday probably sitting on a powerful performance.

"She's had some good works here at Churchill," said Holthus. "She's pretty willing to train, and she's a good work horse."

Holthus and owner Lewis Lakin have secured Julien Leparoux to ride in the Modesty. If Pure Clan runs well enough to come back in the Beverly D., Leparoux might have to make a tough choice, since he rode Acoma in the Mint Julep, and Acoma also could wind up in the race.

Family ties in graded stakes

If they were of a mind, two broodmares could beam with maternal pride over the proceedings Saturday at Arlington. Both Crafty Oak and Aletta Maria might have starters in two of the graded stakes races here.

Crafty Oak's 4-year-old model, Apple Martini, could run in the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap, while her 3-year-old offspring, Giant Oak, probably will be favored in the Gradeo2 American Derby. Owned by Rudy and Virginia Tarra, those are full siblings, offspring of the sire Giant's Causeway.

Less closely related are 6-year-old Dynaforce, an anticipated runner in the Modesty, and 4-year-old Thabazimbi, who could be entered in the Arlington Handicap. John Chandler's mare Aletta Maria produced both horses, but Dynaforce is by Dynaformer, Thabazimbi by Empire Maker.