Skara Glen Stables, W. S. Farish & George Prussin’s Colonial Flag, Andrew Stone’s Strathnaver and Hernandez Racing Club’s La Tia are among the more prominent names in Saturday’s Grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap at a mile and three-sixteenths on the turf.
A 4-year-old daughter of Pleasant Tap, Colonial Flag will be making just her second start of the season after finishing third in the Grade III Mint Julep at Churchill Downs last month. Last year, the Michael Matz trainee won the Grade III Ontario Colleen over the Woodbine turf and was graded stakes-placed in the Grade III Regret Stakes and Grade II Mrs. Revere Stakes over the Churchill lawn. Joe Rocco Jr. will have the mount on Saturday aboard the 119-pound starting highweight.
Strathnaver, campaigned by Andrew Stone who won last year’s Beverly D. with I’m A Dreamer, has won two of her three starts since being sent stateside to trainer Graham Motion for her 4-year-old season. In her North American debut, she won a Gulfstream Park turf allowance race over the mile and three-sixteenths distance of the Modesty and followed that up with a score in the Grade III Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland at a mile and a half. Last out, the English-bred bay filly was a disappointing seventh in the Grade II Sheepshead Bay at Belmont Park. Eddie Castro will ride Strathnaver who will carry 117 pounds.
Local favorite La Tia brings a two-for-two record this season into the Modesty. The Illinois-bred daughter of City Place posted victories in an open company allowance race in her seasonal bow followed by a score in the restricted Lincoln Heritage Handicap. Four for six last year at three, La Tia won the Grade III Arlington Oaks on Polytrack and the $150,000 La Lorgnette at Woodbine over a similar surface. Constantino Roman will ride the Armando De la cerda trainee who will shoulder 118 pounds Saturday.
Susan S. Cooney’s Embarr invades from Colonial Downs after a fourth-place finish in the Grade III All Along. Trained by her owner, the daughter of Royal Academy won the $75,000 Dahlia Stakes at Pimlico in her 2013 bow in April. A winner of multiple restricted stakes, the Virginia-bred was graded stakes placed in the Grade III Athenia at Belmont Park last October. Kent Desormeaux will ride the 5-year-old mare at an impost of 117 pounds.
Others in the Modesty (with jockey and weight assignments) are: Lally Stable’s Dame Marie (Rosie Napravnik, 115), winner of a Churchill Downs allowance race two starts back; Shadwell Stable’s Ausus (James Graham, 116), fourth beaten only a length in the Grade III Arlington Matron in May; Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey’s Artemus Kitten (Julien Leparoux, 116); third in the Grade III Doubledogdare at Keeneland in April and third last out in an $100,000 stakes at Indiana Downs; and Glockenburg LLC’s Madam Nancy (Sergey Vasyutov, 111), a maiden winner here in May.
The Modesty serves as the final local prep for the Grade I $750,000 Beverly D., which will be held Aug. 17, and is one of four major stakes that comprise the track’s Million Preview Day program. In addition to the Modesty, the 12-race card includes the Grade III $200,000 American Derby, the Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap and the Grade III $150,000 Stars and Stripes. As an added bonus, the 1-2-3 finishers in the Modesty will have their entry and starting fees waived for the Beverly D. should they elect to run in that event next month.