05/27/2010 11:00PM

Surface only question for Tizaqueena


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Tizaqueena has shown graded-stakes form on dry dirt and wet, and on turf courses at Fair Grounds, Churchill, and Arlington. Saturday, Tizaqueena will try to tack Polytrack success onto her r sum in the Arlington Matron Stakes.

Tizaqueena is scheduled to make her synthetic-track debut going 1 1/8 miles against 11 rivals in the Grade 3, $150,000 Matron, one of two Grade 3 stakes, along with the Hanshin Cup, on Saturday's card here. Tizaqueena rates a solid chance if her form transfers to Polytrack, but she's part of a deep field that includes the 2009 Matron winner, Euphony, as well as capable shippers Haka and Floating Heart from the stables of Christophe Clement and Todd Pletcher. Askbut I Won'ttell, whose 107 Beyer Speed Figure from the May 15 Illinois Owners Stakes is the highest Beyer produced by a synthetic-track performer anywhere in the country this year, also merits respect.

Tizaqueena has finished worse than third only three times in her 14 starts, but one of those misses came May 1, when she clunked home fifth at Churchill as the 2-1 favorite in the Distaff Turf Mile, a race she won in 2009. Tizaqueena had run well before on grass courses rated less than firm, and even won the Distaff Turf Mile over good going, but trainer Mike Stidham attributes Tizaqueena's subpar performance last out to a yielding course.

"In my opinion, it was a much more yielding turf than the year

before," Stidham said. "She hasn't had a straw in her path since then."

Tizaqueena, drawn in post 11, could wind up leading early in a race that lacks real speed.

"That would be fine," Stidham said. "She's very adaptable."

The 4-year-old Haka, the Clement filly, has put together a 3-2-0 record from 5 synthetic-track starts. Her one-length win in April 16

Doubledogdare at Keeneland wasn't especially fast, but Haka looks like a filly with room to improve.

Floating Heart, in from Pletcher's Churchill string, also raced at Keeneland last month, but her connections chose the 12-furlong Bewitch on turf over the Doubledogdare, and Floating Heart could muster only an even fifth-place finish. Two races ago, she was third to Zenyatta in the Santa Margarita Stakes.

Askbut I Won'ttell returns just two weeks after her fast Illinois Owners win for lack of a suitable spot in the near future.

"There's really nothing for her here until the Modesty" on July 17, trainer Chris Block said. "I think she's held her weight pretty good, but she's kind of a laid-back filly, and it's a little hard to get a line on her because of that."

Euphony has won only once since her 2009 Matron win, and lost her first three starts of 2010 while racing at Oaklawn.

"I think the jury's still out on that," trainer Donnie Von Hemel said, asked if Euphony was the same horse this year as last.

Von Hemel also sends out Peach Brew, who won the Arlington Oaks over this distance last year.