08/18/2005 11:00PM

Tamweel might have to miss Matron


CHICAGO - Tamweel has joined the barn of Steve Asmussen and has taken up training at Arlington Park, where she breezed a slow half-mile this past week. But whether Tamweel is ready for another shot in the Arlington Matron Handicap on Sept. 3 is an open question.

Tamweel, twice sold privately last year, has spent most of this season on the sidelines. She came to hand here last summer, finishing second in the Matron behind a sharp performance from Adoration and second to Azeri in the Grade 1 Spinster before ending her season with a close fourth in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. That race led to a reported $1 million purchase, but Tamweel has yet to come back to her best form. She finished seventh Jan. 30 in the Grade 1 Santa Monica and didn't race again until July 30, when she was a distant fourth in an overnight turf-sprint handicap at Ellis Park.

It was not long after that race that Tamweel's California-based owners, Rancho San Miguel and Twin Creeks Farm, transferred her from Tom Amoss to Asmussen, who said Tamweel had come into his barn early last week.

"I would just say she's just a beautiful, good-traveling mare," Asmussen said.

While the Matron is a possibility, Asmussen said it would be "surprising" if Tamweel made the race off only a turf-sprint prep.

"The Matron isn't the reason she's there," he said. "It's watching her train over the surface and knowing how well she did up there before."

Miss Terrible pointing for Matron

Miss Terrible finished last in the Beverly D. Handicap, and Purim finished next to last in the Secretariat Stakes, but the connections of both horses are chalking up the failures to a wet turf course that was difficult for some horses to handle.

Plans are fluid for Purim, who won the Arlington Classic and was second by a nose to Secretariat winner Gun Salute in the American Derby, but Miss Terrible has been penciled in for a start in the Matron, trainer Brad Ross said Friday.

"I plan on going to the Matron with her if everything goes right," Ross said. "She's back galloping and looks good. I would rather go back on dirt with her style."

Miss Terrible's style is to go to the front, and speed fell apart in both the Million and the Beverly D. First turning for home, Miss Terrible wound up last of nine, though she was beaten less than seven lengths.

"She hates an off turf course. It's just the way she is," Ross said. "That's the one surface she doesn't want any part of. I think she can handle good [turf], just not yielding."

Miss Terrible won the six-furlong Las Flores on the main track to start her season and is 5-4-1-0 in dirt races.

Purim came into the stretch run of the Secretariat hot on the heels of favored English Channel, but quickly went backward in the final quarter-mile and was beaten more than 16 lengths by Gun Salute.

"I know he was galloping along fine for a while, but I'm not for sure he liked the racetrack," said trainer Tom Proctor. "I'm hoping that's the case, because he came back good."

Proctor also cited a busy summer schedule - three starts in six weeks - for the lightly raced Purim as a possible factor for the poor performance, and said he would wait until sometime in the coming weeks before plotting a schedule.

"I really don't have any plans right now," said Proctor. "We're just kind of licking our wounds, and see where we go from there."

Straight Line likely going back to two turns

Straight Line bounced back into form on Million Day last weekend with a visually impressive off-the-pace win in a seven-furlong overnight stakes, winning for the fifth time in eight one-turn races. Racing around two turns, Straight Line has failed to finish better than fourth in three tries.

Nevertheless, trainer Brian Williamson said Straight Line's next race probably would be around two turns in an overnight turf stakes for 3-year-olds.

"If it's at a mile, that would be good," Williamson said. "I would rather have that than a mile and a sixteenth."

Straight Line is by Boundary and out of a mare by Strawberry Road, and his connections have been itching to try him on turf. If he takes to it, there will be more options for Straight Line in the fall. If not, Straight Line has plenty of potential in longer one-turn dirt races.

Two allowances on Sunday's card

A third-level filly-and-mare allowance with an optional $50,000 claiming price, and a second-level allowance for males at 1 1/8 miles, highlight a nine-race Sunday card.

The third-level allowance goes as race 6 and could have Platinum Princess, a recently displaced Californian, as a favorite. But the pick is Arlington lover Teller Line, who upgrades off a solid win over $35,000 claimers in her last start.

The second-level allowance, race 8, drew only six entries, but still is tough to figure. Foolish Cat comes off a 17-length win at Mountaineer Race Track, but will have a much tougher time in this spot. If he and a few others hook up on an honest early pace, the table could be set for the closing kick of Kentucky shipper Grand View Cliffs.