09/16/2009 11:00PM

Winter View can boost Sheppard mark to 3 for 4

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Kurtis Coady/Coady Photography
On Saturday, Winter View tries to remain perfect in 1 1/2-mile races.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Jonathan Sheppard can be forgiven his imperfection.

Sure, only two of the three horses he has sent to Arlington Park this summer have managed to win: Informed Decision captured the Grade 2 Chicago Handicap, and Just As Well the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap. Just As Well came back for more in August and lost, but his second-place Arlington Million finish to Gio Ponti - the leading U.S. turf horse - softened defeat's sting. A 67-percent batting average will have to do Sheppard for now.

And by midday Saturday, Sheppard's win rate this Arlington summer could easily climb to 75 percent. The shipper this time is Winter View, and despite the presence of a three-headed entry from the Kentucky-based barn of trainer Eric Reed, Winter View probably is the one to beat in the $50,000 Claire Marine Stakes.

Five-year-old Winter View made her first 12 starts overseas, and looked like no great shakes early in the North American phase of her career. She lost her first seven starts after being repatriated to the United States, but suddenly came to life when stretched from middle distances to 12 furlongs this past spring at Keeneland.

She won a second-level allowance race there, and then won the Grade 3 Bewitch, and in the Claire Marine, Winter View will try to make it a perfect 3 for 3 in 1 1/2-mile races. Her victory in the Grade 3 All Along at Colonial on June 20 validated her Bewitch score, and bettors should not be put off by the presence of just one published workout (six furlongs on turf Sept. 2 at the Saratoga training track) for Winter View's first race since July 18. Sheppard does most of the prep work at his Pennsylvania farm before putting on finishing touches at a racetrack.

Reed confirmed Thursday plans to start all three parts of a coupled entry, Lemonette, Polo Lounge, and Sweet and Flawless. Lemonette raced Sept. 7 at Saratoga, rallying nicely for a fine second in the Grade 3 Glens Falls, but Reed pointed out that Lemonette won an overnight Arlington turf stakes in July on a two-week turnaround.

"She's one of those fillies that enjoys a quick bounce, and then you give her 30 days off," Reed said. "I don't think it'll be a problem for her."

Polo Lounge is an outsider, but Sweet and Flawless might have a chance. She rallied for second in the Arlington Oaks, and finished fourth of eight Aug. 22 in the Grade Alabama at Saratoga. She makes her grass-racing debut on Saturday, but has the pedigree to transfer her form to turf.