08/26/2005 12:00AM

A versatile Jaguar City to go mile


CHICAGO - There is a 400-yard Quarter Horse stakes race on Sunday at Arlington. Maybe Jaguar City would have a chance in that one, too.

Jaguar City has won 7 times in 16 starts. She has gone to the lead and come from off the pace in six-furlong sprints, and won with authority making all the pace in two-turn routes. And she will be tough to beat Sunday in a $40,000 overnight handicap, though Jaguar City must spot seven rivals as much as 10 pounds.

The Sunday feature, for Illinois-bred fillies and mares, is contested at one mile around one turn, something Jaguar City has never tried. But the distance should be ideal, given Jaguar City's success in sprints and true routes.

"It really doesn't make much difference to her," said Bobby Springer, who trains Jaguar City for Jaguar on the Run Stables.

Jaguar City has not raced since she won the Isaac Murphy Handicap on June 25 at Arlington, but the break came only for lack of a suitable spot. Springer picked out this race about three weeks ago, and let Jaguar City run a little bit in an Aug. 21 half-mile work timed in 47.20 seconds, third-fastest of 114 on the day.

Jaguar City and jockey James Graham should make the lead and set a moderate pace. It shouldn't be too many lengths back to the Fairmount Park invader Lady Riss, who enters Sunday's race off five consecutive victories at her home track. The last time Lady Riss took a shot in Chicago she finished up the track at Hawthorne last fall, but Lady Riss appears to be a stronger filly now, and her trainer, Leroy Hellman, has won twice at this meet with downstate Illinois ship-ins.

The other fairly obvious contender is Ms. Lydonia, who was fifth to her stablemate Chic Dancer in an open fourth-level turf allowance race the last time she ran. Ms. Lydonia can handle a one-turn mile and has a touch of quality to her, but even at her best she will be hard-pressed to run down a sharp Jaguar City.

* Keep an eye on Sunday's fourth race, an entry-level, one-mile allowance for 2-year-old colts. The race could produce a starter or two for the Arlington-Washington Futurity, and has a favorite, Futurity hopeful Charley Tango, who won his debut - also at a one-turn mile - by three lengths on July 14.