08/06/2007 12:00AM

After Market heads eight likely for Million


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – The purse is a million dollars but the field for the Arlington Million has declined in recent days, falling from a prospective 11 down to an expected eight with three recent defections.

Out of Saturday's Million are Cosmonaut, Rob Roy, and the European horse Stage Gift, and while none of those losses strikes a breaking blow to Arlington's biggest race of the summer, a larger field would at least have looked better.

As it is, the core of the Million – which will be drawn on Wednesday along with Saturday's two other Grade 1 turf races, the Beverly D. and the Secretariat - remains intact. After Market and The Tin Man are coming from California on Tuesday, and Sunriver ships in from New York on Thursday. While Canada's leading grass horse, Sky Conqueror, is not coming for the race, Woodbine-based Jambalaya is. Three overseas horses - Danak, Doctor Dino, and Pressing - are expected to start. And finally, add to the mix Stream Cat, who replaces Cosmonaut for trainer Patrick Biancone.

Cosmonaut, who won the Arlington Handicap for the second straight year in his most recent start, developed an abscess in his hoof four or five days after that race on Julyo21, Biancone said.

"He's back to the track now, but he missed too much time," said Biancone, adding that Cosmonaut could be re-routed to the Aug. 25 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga.

The Tin Man, age 9, will bid to become the first back-to-back winner of the Million, having led from start to finish on a slow pace in last year's race. John Henry is the only other two-time Million winner, and he captured his second Million in 1984 at the age of 9.

After Market, a comfortable winner at the Grade 1 winner in his last two starts, is expected to be favored. Sunriver has emerged as a leading East Coast grass horse since trying turf for the first time just two months ago. He fairly easily won the Bowling Green Handicap in his most recent start.

Jennie R. to impact Beverly D.

Even trainer Michelle Boyce questions whether Jennie R. can hang with the heavy hitters in the Beverly D. Handicap, but Jennie R. could play a major roll in the Beverly D.'s outcome, even if she's nowhere at the finish.

Jennie R., the only Chicago-based horse expected to be entered in the Beverly D., finished a good second last out in the Grade 3 Modesty, and where you saw her that day - out on the lead setting a fast pace - is where Jennie R. will be again Saturday.

"You don't rate her," Boyce said. "She has one way of running, and you have to let her do her thing. You just can't change her style of running."

Jennie R. has run her opening half-mile in less than 48 seconds in her two most recent starts, and that could make things interesting for Citronnade, the possible race favorite whose running style mirror's that of Jennie R. Citronnade has won four straight graded turf stakes, making the pace in all of them, though she did rally from fourth to win a race of lesser quality last fall at Hollywood.

"The speed factor won't be to our advantage with Citronnade, but you really can't take a hold of this horse," said Boyce, who sent Jennie R. out to a 59-second five-furlong breeze on Monday morning.

Boyce, at this point, knows better than to mess with Jennie R., who showed talent as far back as three years ago, but only came into her own this season. "It's taken me all these years to figure her out," Boyce said.

Jennie R. can be high-strung and difficult to train. She does her regular exercise at 5:30 each morning on Arlignton's off-the-beaten-path training track, going to the main track only to work and race. Only rarely does Jennie R. get a day off. To change her schedule is to risk problems, Boyce said.

"I don't know if we belong, but we're running," said Boyce, who is hoping for a wet turf course and, if possible, a clear early lead.

This excellent edition of the Beverly D. is also expected to draw Honey Ryder, Irridescence, Lady of Venice, Lahudood, and Royal Highness.

Overseas runners begin arriving

Seven overseas horses are expected for the three International Festival of Racing stakes on Saturday, but the defection of Axxos, who would have been a major player in the Secretariat, heightens the lack of top-class form among this year's international contingent.

Irridescence, who starts in the Beverly D., was the first of the transatlantic horses to arrive. She came in Friday, and has been out for exercise two days. Irridescence actually has high-class credentials, but she has landed in a tough edition of the Beverly D.

Another overseas flight carrying four horses arrived Sunday night, and that group was expected to clear quarantine and train on Tuesday. Pressing, who starts in the Million, was to ship in Monday, while Shamdinan, a Secretariat horse, comes Tuesday.

Lewis Michael's plans still unknown

Wayne Catalano said there are no immediate plans for Lewis Michael, who easily won the July 28 Washington Park Handicap, but Lewis Michael's connections have peered farther into the future.

"We might set a goal, and the goal might be the Dubai World Cup," Catalano said. "How to get there, that's the thing."

Lewis Michael has returned to galloping, and probably will work next week, Catalano said. A trip to Del Mar for the Pacific Classic has all but been ruled out, and Catalano said he couldn't say yet where Lewis Michael would next start.

* Dreaming of Anna, Lewis Michael's 3-year-old sister, worked an easy half-mile on Monday, her first breeze since a win in the July 21 Virginia Oaks. Dreaming of Anna is being pointed to the Sept. 8 Pucker Up Stakes here.

* Arlington will host the Women in Racing Luncheon here Thursday, an event staged to benefit cancer research at the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation. A cocktail reception at 11:30 a.m. is followed by lunch, a fashion show, and a silent auction. Tickets are $125, and more information can be obtained by calling (847) 385-7721.