05/21/2009 11:00PM

Stakes round up the usual suspects

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Four-Footed Fotos
Nicks wins the Governor's Lady at Hawthorne last month. She will face runner-up Magnetic Miss and third-place finisher Secret Kin again on Sunday.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The Zen Stakes and the Your Ladyship Stakes, Illinois-bred races on Sunday at Arlington, serve as preps for richer stakes races on the Prairie State Festival program next month. But the gang's pretty much all here for these pair of $50,000 seven-furlong Polytrack sprints, the Zen for males, the Your Ladyship for females.

The Your Ladyship brings out the top four finishers from the $90,000 Governor's Lady Handicap last month at Hawthorne. Nicks won that day, with Magnetic Miss second, Secret Kin third, and all three horse appear capable of transferring dirt form to Polytrack.

Magnetic Miss, in fact, won the Your Ladyship by six lengths last year for trainer Spanky Broussard before going on to a similarly impressive victory in the $86,000 Isaac Murphy. A couple differences worth noting this year: First, retired Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires is not in the saddle, replaced by veteran rider Perry Compton, whose height would earn him in a place in a jockeys Tall of Fame. Second, and much more importantly, at this time last year Nicks hadn't even made her 2008 debut, and she has since risen to the top of the division. Five-year-old Christine Janks-trained Nicks is a four-time dirt winner, but has three wins on Polytrack. May 8, she showed her fondness for the local artificial surface with a five-furlong drill in 58 seconds.

That said, Magnetic Miss is the outside-drawn controlling speed here, and will take some catching on a fair-playing track.

Janks, leading trainer at Arlington as of Friday, also has a horse for the Zen - High Expectations, an eight-time winner at Arlington Park. Seven-year-old High Expectations has not shown his best in two starts this year, but might have a couple good ones still left in the tank.

Older even than High Expectations is Fort Prado, who at age 8 is winless since 2007. Fort Prado has only a third-place finish from three synthetic-track starts, but faced stronger competition in those races than he does Sunday, and appears to have a chance to end his long winless streak.

The "now" horse in the Illinois-bred male sprint division appears to be Wildeydsouthernboy, who is a perfect 4 for 4 over Arlington's Polytrack. Wildeydsouthernboy benefited from an ideal setup when he won an open second-level sprint allowance here May 9, but made the most of the situation, finishing strongly behind a hot pace for a sharp 2 1/4-length victory while running six furlongs in 1:08.60.