09/12/2007 11:00PM

Speed duel brewing in Ada L. Rice Stakes

EmailARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It looks hit-you-over-the-head obvious: Honour Colony and Jennie R. are headed for a speed duel in the Ada L. Rice Illinois Owners Stakes on Saturday at Arlington Park.

Whenever Honour Colony has run well, as in a six-length win July 14 in the Lady Canterbury Stakes, she has done so with a clear early lead. Ditto Jennie R., who won the Possibly Perfect earlier this Arlington season, and was a tough-beat second in the Grade 3 Modesty after making the pace.

"I don't know that there's any way around it," said Michele Boyce, Jennie R.'s trainer. "Both of them do the same kind of running, unfortunately. That's how my filly runs, and I'm not going to try and change her at this point."

Rene Douglas rides Honour Colony for the first time, but even on Thursday, two days out from the Ada L. Rice, a 1 1/16-mile, $100,000 grass race, Douglas knew the scenario.

"It's a tough decision for both of us," Douglas said. "I don't like us to kill each other, but sometimes you got no choice. If I'm able to relax her, I will, but sometimes that's hard to do with a horse like that."

Honour Colony and Jennie R. have similarities beyond running style. Both are scheduled to be sold at auction in November, and both raced for a claiming price earlier this year, Jennie R. in a $50,000 claimer on June 3, Honour Colony for a $62,500 tag June 17. The difference is Jenny R. stayed with Boyce, while the Arbaway Farm reached in to claim Honour Colony, sending her straight to Canterbury, where she quickly won the $100,000 Lady Canterbury.

The guess is that Jennie R., who has a more favorable draw outside of Honour Colony, might have a bit more substance of the two, and she was especially sharp in her races over this course in June and July. Even Jennie R.'s fifth-place finish over laboring turf in the Beverly D. was a decent effort, and Boyce said her mare has done well since that Aug. 11 start.

"I don't think she's ever been better in her life," Boyce said.

Threats to pick up the pieces of a taxing duel? There appear to be three. Both Lady Lionel and Love Handles are Illinois-breds, but both seem good enough at the moment to pull a minor upset with the right trip. Rich in Spirit is a Grade 3 winner, but has gone 0 for 6 this year, and comes off a distant third-place finish Aug. 25 in an Ellis Park stakes race.

Fairwell Madrid appears in over her head.