07/11/2009 12:00AM

Pure Clan much the best in Modesty

Four-Footed Fotos
Julien Leparoux guided Pure Clan to a wide-trip victory in Saturday's Grade 3 Modesty at Arlington Park.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Julien Leparoux basically rode Pure Clan like she could not lose the Modesty Handicap, and the filly did not let him down.

Leparoux quickly took Pure Clan off the fence in the first quarter-mile of the Modesty. Why risk getting stopped, stuck, impeded or otherwise when you are riding a 4-5 shot in a five-horse field?

"I just wanted to be in the clear," Leparoux said when the dust had cleared, and Pure Clan had won the by 2 1/2 lengths in a dominant performance.

Wide the whole trip, Pure Clan powered into the stretch with a full head of steam, collared pacesetting Tizaqueena before the stretch call, and pulled steadily clear in the final furlong. Pure Clan paid $3.60 to win, and was timed in 1:55.27 for 1 3/16 miles on firm turf. She races for owner Lewis Lakin, and is trained by Kentucky-based Bob Holthus. Tizaqueena held second gamely over Dynaforce, who improved significantly off a poor 2009 debut in the Gallorette.

Pure Clan started her career on turf, showed ability right away, then transferred her talent to dirt for a run at the Kentucky Oaks, where she finished third to Proud Spell last year. Holthus said the decision was made to return Pure Clan to turf because it was thought that grass racing might be easier on the horse and extend her career.

But the fact is, Pure Clan just seems like a better filly on the lawn. She won the Grade 1 American Oaks for her signature victory last season, and should be a major player in the Aug. 8 Beverly D. off her victory here Saturday. Pure Clan raced fourth or fifth as Tizaqueena broke a touch awkwardly but recovered to set modest fractions of 25.29 seconds to the quarter, 49.89 to the half, and 1:13.63 for six furlongs. Leparoux said he made "a little move" down the backstretch to quicken the tempo a touch, but Pure Clan held back on her real move until the stretch.

That move is Grade 1 material, and Leparoux may face a tough choice in the Beverly D. between Pure Clan and Acoma, should the winner of the Mint Julep Handicap over Pure Clan also wind up here next month, as is possible.