07/07/2009 11:00PM

Shift from Polytrack to turf for rematch


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - On June 20 at Arlington, Apple Martini nosed out Sun for Fun to win the Lincoln Heritage Stakes, a race scheduled for turf but moved to Polytrack because of really wet course conditions. Friday, barring another rain-off, we will see how these two stack up on grass.

Apple Martini and Sun for Fun, the Illinois-bred contingent, comprise one third of the featured sixth race, a third-level allowance carded for about one mile on grass, and one of three allowances on the afternoon.

The Illinois-breds like to come from off the pace, and that could work out despite the short field in the Friday feature, since the three horses on the outside, Cure for Sale, Three Graces, and Newport Harbour, all could show some measure of speed.

Pace or no pace, Apple Martini should fit well in this spot, and despite the fact that she has two wins on Polytrack compared with one on turf, trainer Chris Block said he believes Apple Martini is a better horse on grass.

"I think she is," said Block. "She's just been in tougher turf races."

Sun for Fun, from the Christine Janks barn, has two Poly wins and three grass wins, but has ventured into open company far less frequently than Apple Martini, who actually is Grade 3-placed.

Block, it turns out, has another last-start Polytrack winner who looks good in a Friday turf race in Lakeaway, who starts in race 8, a second-level allowance. Lakeaway came back from a layoff of more than seven months to score a sharp main-track victory for a $45,000 claiming price here June 13, but she also has wins on grass and dirt. And in this case, Block does not believe a move from Polytrack to turf will move his horse up.

"I think she's good on either surface," Block said. "She's one I wouldn't be able to tell the difference with."

The connections of Venetian Causeway, one of Lakeaway's 11 rivals, were actually hoping to get into a Polytrack race, rather than run on turf. Entered and scratched from the Grade 3 Arlington Matron earlier in the meet, Venetian Causeway makes her first start since being transferred from New York into trainer Donnie Von Hemel's Arlington barn.

"We've kind of been wanting to run on the Poly, entered a time or two on there, and it didn't go," Von Hemel said.

Venetian Causeway has a soft-turf victory, but most recently won on Keeneland's Polytrack.