06/27/2006 11:00PM

Stretching headed to Arlington


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Stretching, who has come to hand rapidly over the past several months in Texas, is being pointed for the Grade 3, $150,000 Modesty Handicap at Arlington Park on July 22, said her trainer, Michael Stidham.

Stretching last raced at Lone Star Park, and finished a big third in the Grade 3, $200,000 WinStar Distaff on May 29. She came into the race off three consecutive victories at Sam Houston Race Park: a maiden score in December, an allowance win in February, and the $40,000 Jersey Lily in April.

"They sent her over from France," said Stidham, who trains Stretching for the Wertheimer brothers. "She just kind of was one of those horses that blossomed over here. Every step we went with her, she passed the test, and that's why we gave her the shot at the WinStar."

Stretching was 50-1 in the race, but outran those odds to finish two lengths behind Grade 1 winner Sweet Talker and earn a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 91.

"She ran a great race that day," said Stidham. "We're going to hope that the roll continues."

Stretching is a 4-year-old filly by Red Ransom. Her third dam is Personal Ensign, whose offspring include Grade 1 winners My Flag, Miner's Mark, and Traditionally.

Stidham is having a strong meet, and has had particular success over the local turf course. He has won with 7 of 19 starters on the grass this meet, or 36 percent of the time. Overall, the Stidham barn is 12 for 46 at the meet. His latest turf winner was James Ready Magic, who launched an impressive rally to win an allowance here Sunday.

"The fact that he's a 3-year-old, and he's won the nonwinner-of-three [condition], really, the next step would probably be to find a little straight 3-year-old stakes rather than run him against older horses, and that's what we're going to look for," said Stidham.

One upcoming option is the $50,000 Excalibur for 3-year-olds on turf at Louisiana Downs on July 8.

Purely Classic is another turf winner for Stidham. He has won two of the three legs of a turf starter series he has run in at the meet to give his connections the lead in the series in points. Purely Classic will run back in the final leg of the series, at 1 1/2 miles, on July 22, said Stidham.

"He's found a good niche over there," he said. "We'll run him in there, and hope that we can win that series."

Betty Garr eyes Oaks

Stidham will be in stakes action over the local turf course Saturday, when he sends out Betty Garr in the $60,000 Lone Star Oaks. It will be the first start on turf for Betty Garr, who won a first-level allowance for Texas-breds at Lone Star on May 5.

"We worked her on the grass the other day and she had a really good work, so we're going to take a shot," said Stidham. "We've been wanting to get her on the grass."

Betty Garr drilled five furlongs on turf here Sunday, going the distance in a bullet 1:00.60. She has made one stakes start, finishing second in the $50,000 Bara Lass for statebreds last November at Sam Houston.

* Tale of Freedom will shoot for her third consecutive win on Friday night when she heads an optional claimer at one mile on turf for fillies and mares. She shipped to Texas earlier this year after racing exclusively in Florida, and won an optional claimer at Lone Star. Cliff Berry has the mount for trainer Bret Calhoun.