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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. --- Nancy Vanier's Wade for Me, champion Illinois-bred distaffer of 1999, solidified her chance for a repeat season-end honor with a hard-fought victory over Candleinthedark in the $100,000 Modesty Handicap Sunday at Arlington International Racecourse. The Grade 3 Modesty, a mile and three-sixteenths turf race for fillies and mares, is the final local prep for the Grade 1 $500,000 Beverly D. Stakes which will be run August 19.

A daughter of 1989 Illinois Horse of the Year Western Playboy, Wade for Me was allowed to settle in the middle of the pack in the 10-horse field. She raced outside for most of the race and was three-wide entering the stretch. Under a strong ride from her regular rider, Chris Emigh, Wade for Me took command in deep stretch and was all out to hold off the late rally of longshot Candleinthedark and win by a length. She was timed in 1:57.06 over a turf course listed as soft following on and off rain the last two days.

"I actually thought I got beat that last jump," Emigh admitted. "She was digging in and with the turf soft, she had to fight really hard out there."

Like Emigh, Alfredo Juarez Jr., who rode the runner-up, was unsure of the outcome until the placing judges posted the official order of finish. Nevertheless, he was pleased with how his horse had performed.

"I thought I had caught the winner," Juarez said. "She broke well. At the three-eighths pole I had a little trouble. There were horses on both sides of me and I got bumped a bit. So I had to wait for a hole but when I asked her at the quarter mile pole. She started running. I almost got there."

Wild Heart Dancing, who stalked the pace, made a bid mid stretch but was outrun in the final sixteenth and finished third. Camargo, the 17-10 favorite, was fourth followed home by Histoire Sainte, Justenuffheart, M and M Machine, Singsingasong, Coco Vive.

Despite being the 116-pound highweight, Wade for Me was dispatched at odds of 8.5 to $1 and returned $17.00, $8.60 and $5.20. Candleinthedark paid $13.60 and $7.80. Wild Heart Dancing paid $5.60.

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