05/21/2009 11:00PM

Tizaqueena may go to Mint Julep


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - From allowance to listed stakes to Grade 2 stakes, Tizaqueena has climbed steadily up the class ladder during her four-race win streak. But a step up to the next rung might have to wait. Tizaqueena remains under consideration for the Grade 1 Just a Game on June 6 at Belmont Park, but the Grade 3 Mint Julep the same afternoon has begun to look like an appealing option.

"The real tough race will be at Belmont," said trainer Mike Stidham. "We may veer off and go back to Churchill."

It was over the Churchill Downs course that Tizaqueena won the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile on Kentucky Derby Day. Tizaqueena has met all challenges in her four starts since returning from an extended layoff, and she is 3 for 3 on turf, but Tizaqueena never has raced against horses like 2008 female turf champion Forever Together, who is supposed to head the salty cast in the Just a Game.

Tizaqueena, stabled at Stidham's Arlington barn, has posted two timed workouts since her Distaff Turf Mile win, most recently breezing a half-mile on Polytrack in 49.80 seconds Thursday.

"She's doing fantastic," said Stidham, who trains Tizaqueena for the Darley Stable.

Working three furlongs in 36.60 seconds for Stidham on Friday was Secret Getaway, who is back from a freshening following a productive winter campaign. Secret Getaway capped a busy Fair Grounds meet with a good second in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap before finishing fourth last month in the Oaklawn Handicap. Secret Getaway spent a month turned out at a farm, but has not lost a lot of condition, Stidham said, and is being pointed directly to the $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap on June 27 at Prairie Meadows.

Karlsson erases her slow start

It took Inez Karlsson one racing program to become relevant again in the local jockey standings. Karlsson, an Eclipse Award finalist for leading apprentice rider in 2008, won the fall-winter riding title at Hawthorne, and was nipped by Tim Thornton at the spring meet there that ended late last month. But Karlsson began the Arlington season 6 for 77 - before breaking out in a big way on Thursday. Karlsson won five times on the 10-race card, capturing four races outright and dead-heating for win in another race. Only one of her winners, Itchy Toes in race 2, was favored.

Karlsson also won race 4 on Friday, giving her 12 victories at the meet, good for fourth in the Arlington standings. Perennial leading Arlington rider Rene Douglas sits atop those standings, but only narrowly for now. Through the start of Friday's races, Douglas had 15 wins, one more than Junior Alvarado, and two more than E.T. Baird.

Jara still in Panama, agent says

Jockey Fernando Jara was supposed to come to Chicago to ride at Arlington when this meet opened May 1, but so far, no Jara.

Dennis Cooper, who books mounts for Douglas and had been in contact with Jara while Jara rode in Dubai this winter and early spring, said Jara was in Panama for the birth of a child. Cooper said he'd spoken with Jara just once since the Arlington meet began May 1, but that as far as he knew, the rider still planned on eventually coming to ride here.