Updated on 09/16/2011 8:26AM

Turf race a melting pot of confusion


STICKNEY, Ill. - Comeback horses, horses with no turf form, recent claimers - welcome to the wonderful melting-pot world of the first-level allowance at a mid-level racetrack.

It's Hawthorne's world on Sunday afternoon, when 12 one-other-than fillies tangle in a full field in the ninth race, a one-mile grass race. Various types of horses are represented, and the sum of their parts is - confusion.

Brief Bliss has not raced in seven months and has never tried turf, but almost beat the top-class Take Charge Lady late last summer and nearly won the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie at Arlington. Those were excellent tries, but a 15-length loss as the favorite in a Keeneland allowance was not, and Brief Bliss has not raced since that Oct. 20 start.

Trainer Mike Stidham said Brief Bliss, who is owned by Chicagoans racing as the Three Kings Stable, didn't suffer an injury that led to her layoff. "We just backed off and gave her time," said Stidham, who is based right now at Lone Star Park but has about 20 horses at Hawthorne.

Stidham's barn does well with layoff horses and on turf, where Brief Bliss makes her first start. Last summer, when Stidham and the Three Kings claimed Brief Bliss out of a $50,000 maiden-claiming win at Churchill Downs, Stidham noted the grass influences in the filly's pedigree, but he is just now getting around to trying her on turf.

"I figured we have to try her sometime to see if she likes it at all," Stidham said. "We might as well give it a shot now."

Brief Bliss has worked only three times, however, none of the drills fast, and may be a race away from her best, which is not to say something slightly less than her best will not beat this field.

Summer Mis also comes back from a long layoff, and though she accomplished less than Brief Bliss last season, she too showed talent. Owned by Richard Otto and trained by Anthony Mitchell, Summer Mis is an Illinois-bred with a Kentucky pedigree. By Summer Squall out of a Miswaki mare, Summer Mis won her second career start by 14 lengths, running a fast six furlongs. And though she was fifth in her only turf try, it came at Keeneland and she raced too close to a fast pace to have much left for the stretch drive.

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