William Butler’s Lotta Lovin, a winner of three straight stakes at Turfway Park before failing to get the 1 1/16-mile distance of Keeneland’s Grade I Ashland, returns to sprint competition and is expected to rule the strong choice in Saturday’s $65,000 Meafara Stakes, restricted to 3-year-old fillies at six and a half furlongs over Arlington’s Polytrack course.
The Meafara is named in honor of the Chicago-based filly owned by the late Frank Muench who twice finished second by a neck against males in the 1992 and 1993 Breeders’ Cup Sprints and also captured Arlington’s Grade III Chicago Handicap in 1993.
The Pennsylvania-bred Lotta Lovin, a daughter of Repent out of an Unzipped mare, is trained by Mike Maker and will be ridden by Arlington’s defending jockey champion James Graham.
Capable of providing strong competition for Lotta Lovin in the Meafara is Frank Calabrese’s Sabrina’s Dance, a winner of her first two career starts at Calder last fall who then returned to the winner’s circle at Gulfstream Park in the $60,000 Madcap Escapade when sprinting five furlongs over the turf. Trained by Arlington-based Danny Miller, Sabrina’s Dance will be ridden by the veteran Francisco Torres, a Chicago-raised jockey who has led the local standings most of the 2012 season.
Not to be discounted in the Meafara is the undefeated Nightofsolance, owned and trained by Luis Jurado and winner of her only two career starts at West Virginia’s Mountaineer Racetrack. That Overbrook Farm-bred daughter of Officer will be ridden for the first time by jockey Constantino Roman.
Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Ire, who broke her maiden going seven furlongs over Keeneland’s Polytrack April 6 but is winless in two starts on dirt, will invade from Kentucky to return to her preferred surface in the Meafara. The homebred daughter of Political Force out of an Arch mare is conditioned by Al Stall Jr. and will have Arlington jockey Inosencio Diego in the irons.
Ten-time Arlington trainer champion Wayne Catalano has entered Tom Grether Farms, John Mulholland and Martha Jane Mulholland’s Atlantic Tap in the Meafara. The daughter of Stormy Atlantic is coming off a two-length maiden tally over Keeneland’s Polytrack April 21. French-born jockey Florent Geroux is named to handle the reins.
William Stiritz’s St. Louis City, who finished second by a half-length to Lotta Lovin in the Turfway’s Gowell, was also fourth in Oaklawn’s $50,000 Dixie Belle over the main track at the central Arkansas oval Jan. 14. She is trained by Scott Becker and will have Robby Albarado in the irons Saturday.
Russian-born Arlington-based trainer Gennadi Dorochenko, who saddled Raut LLC’s Hero of Order to an upset in this spring’s Grade II Louisiana Derby, will have Olympia Star Inc.’s Emona in the Meafara. Emona will be returning to the main track after a lone start on grass – as was Hero of Order in the Louisiana Derby. No rider was named astride Emona.
HOLLYWOOD’S GAMELY HEROINE BELLA ROYALE BOUND FOR BEVERLY D.
Michael Tabor’s Irish-bred filly Belle Royale, who captured Hollywood’s Grade I Gamely by a half-length on Memorial Day, is being pointed toward a start in Arlington’s Grade I Beverly D. Stakes Aug. 18 during Arlington’s 2012 one-day International Festival of Racing.
Belle Royale, who is being conditioned by Simon Callaghan in California, has won her only two starts in this country and was victorious in her last three in Great Britain before making her transatlantic journey.