09/26/2004 11:00PM

Arc loses a top contender

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PARIS, France - An already wide open Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe lost much of its international luster on Monday when Tap Dance City was declared out of the race by trainer Shozo Sasaki.

The Japanese-based 7-year-old was unable to fly from Tokyo to Paris on Sunday due to technical difficulties on his scheduled Air France flight. As the next possible flight to Paris would not leave Tokyo until Wednesday, Sasaki ruled Tap Dance City out of the Arc due to the brief amount of time the horse would have to recover from such a long journey.

Thus the Arc will be without the horse who has won two of the world's richest turf races, the Japan Cup and the Takarazuka Kinen, within the last year.

Meanwhile in England, Epsom Derby winner North Light was given the Arc go-ahead by trainer Michael Stoute after a pleasing workout at Newmarket on Monday morning. Sulamani, however, looks increasingly doubtful to make the Arc lineup after a series of dull works. Frankie Dettori has been pencilled in to ride the Godolphin second-string, Mamool, thus freeing Godolphin's second-string rider Kerrin McEvoy to ride Warrsan.

In Breeders' Cup news, Michael Jarvis will speak with Gary Tanaka by phone in New York concerning the participation of Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner Rakti in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Jarvis has ruled Rakti out of a defense of his 1 1/4-mile Champion Stakes title at Newmket on Oct. 23. He is, however, expressing doubts about Rakti's ability to handle the tight turns at Lone Star Park, where Tanaka would have to ante up a $120,0000 supplementary fee to get Rakti into the Mile.

In France, Andre Fabre will send Nebraska Tornado in Saturday's one-mile Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket, where a good effort would earn lastyear's French Oaks winner a place in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.