05/13/2009 11:00PM

Sly Storm tries mile on turf


The Preakness Day feature at Arlington Park is the $50,000 Reluctant Guest, a one-mile grass race - and a proving ground for champions.

Yep, the 2008 Reluctant Guest was won by Forever Together, who, it is safe to say, moved on to bigger and better things. After winning at Arlington in her turf debut, Forever Together moved into Grade 1 company and wound up her 2009 campaign winning the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Twelve horses were entered in the 2009 Reluctant Guest - alas, no Forever Togethers. The race, however, is strong enough for the class level and may run through a filly named Sly Storm.

Sly Storm finished fifth in a Keeneland allowance race last month, but she's better than that. The last-out loss came on Polytrack, over which Sly Storm had never raced, and Sly Storm had not started since last fall. In 2008, she won 5 of 7 starts and capped her season with back-to-back victories in her first two turf races, including one here at Arlington. The problem with all that proven form is that it came sprinting. The Reluctant Guest marks Sly Storm's first-ever two-turn try. To get her ready, trainer Tom Proctor worked the filly one mile over Arlington's main track on May 8.

Ciao is a Grade 3-type mare at her best and she will make her first start since last fall Saturday. She came back from a winter break in the 2008 Reluctant Guest with a fifth-place finish.

Graham Motion-trained Drop a Line has made all three of her 2009 starts in Grade 3 competition and fits class-wise in the Reluctant Guest, but she's a stuck with post 11 in a race with a short run to the first turn. Potential trouble there.

The one horse outside Drop a Line is Nan's Joy, a win contender in her own right. Nan's Joy finished second to graded-stakes-class Ariege last out at Keeneland, and two starts ago was third behind subsequent Grade 3 winner Tizaqueena in the Fortin at Fair Grounds.