07/08/2009 11:00PM

Pure Clan looks to rally in Modesty


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Creating a mental image of how the Modesty Handicap will unfold does not seem that difficult: Tizaqueena should be on the lead, Dynaforce figures to press the pace, and Pure Clan will race inside, waiting to launch a stretch rally. It's picturing the finish that gets fuzzier.

That makes the Grade 3, $200,000 Modesty an interesting race, even though it will go with only five starters. Six were entered in the 1 3/16-mile turf race, but Colina Verde was cross-entered at Woodbine and will go to Canada instead, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said.

Pure Clan probably will be favored under Julien Leparoux, and for good reason. She has won half of her 12 starts and has compiled a 4-2-0 record from 7 grass races. Pure Clan won the Grade 1 American Oaks over 1 1/4 miles last summer at Hollywood Park, outrunning what looks, at best, like a middle-distance pedigree.

"She acts like she'd run all day," trainer Bob Holthus said. "She has plenty of stamina."

Pure Clan also has a brilliant late kick. She finished second in the Mint Julep Handicap last month at Churchill Downs, her first start of 2009, but was beaten only by high-class Acoma and came home her final quarter-mile in 23 seconds or less. As usual, Pure Clan waited near the back of the field before unleashing her run in the stretch.

"That's pretty well her style," Holthus said. "Julien [Leparoux] knows her well."

Dynaforce ran poorly in her 2009 debut, finishing fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Gallorette Handicap on May 16 at Pimlico, but last year, at least, Dynaforce was much better than that. Second to Forever Together in the Gradeo1 Diana at Saratoga, Dynaforce broke through with a big win in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl last fall at Belmont. The Flower Bowl was contested over a wet course, and Dynaforce's connections surely would not mind seeing rain here this weekend.

Tizaqueena, who has never raced beyond 1 1/16 miles, led into the stretch of the Mint Julep but was no match late for Acoma and Pure Clan. But Saturday, she once again figures to come into the stretch on the lead and will be ridden by noted front-end jockey E.T. Baird.

"It looks like she's the speed, so we'll try to slow it down," trainer Mike Stidham said. "I think she can go this far, but you find that stuff out when you do it."

Ciao, another late-runner, was third in the 2008 Modesty. Lemonette seeks her first stakes win.