10/21/2003 12:00AM

Arcadia via Chicago

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ARCADIA, Calif. - They say a good horse can come from anywhere. But it seems hard to believe that perhaps the best 2-year-old trainer colt D. Wayne Lukas has this year came from his Arlington Park division.

After a one-year hiatus from the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Lukas - a five-time winner of this race - is back with a live longshot in Race for Glory, a California-bred son of Cape Town. Race for Glory has not taken the orthodox road to the Cup, as have so many of Lukas's 34 other Juvenile starters.

Instead, Race for Glory earned his spot with a powerful seven-length victory in a California-bred stakes after winning his maiden at Arlington Park and running up the track in the Ellis Park Juvenile.

In the summer, Lukas usually sends his best 2-year-old prospects to Saratoga, where the stakes program offers a chance to get a good line on a horse's ability. But horses like Adage, Boston Brahmin, Desert Warrior, and Hasslefree all showed limitations in races like the Sanford, Saratoga Special, and Hopeful.

Meanwhile, at Arlington Park on July 13, Race for Glory won his maiden by six lengths, covering five furlongs in a solid 57.87 seconds, 1.15 seconds faster than the other division of that race run that day.

Bob and Beverly Lewis purchased Race for Glory out of Keeneland's 2-year-old in training sales for $600,000 in April. Lukas said he sent Race for Glory to Arlington randomly. "We were just splitting up the stable. Not a lot of thought went into it," he said.

Lukas thought the Ellis Park Juvenile would be a great spot to get a stakes win for Race for Glory. But the emerging star Cactus Ridge won that race by 6 1/2 lengths, while Race for Glory finished fourth, beaten 12 3/4 lengths. Lukas said Race for Glory was found to have a temperature the next day.

Lukas said that he thought running at Ellis was "a hell of an idea, but every time I do I get slapped and kicked in the teeth.

"Draw a line through that one - don't let that warp your thinking. I thought he could beat those horses with one leg tied up, frankly."

The Cavonnier Stakes, restricted to California-breds, offered Race for Glory a softer spot to return than did the Norfolk a few days later. In the Cavonnier, Race for Glory ran a superb race, stalking the speedy Winter Squall for more than a half-mile, seizing the lead around the turn, and finishing in hand. He ran seven furlongs in a strong 1:22.45.

"It was a perfect fit," Lukas said. "It gave him an out over the racetrack. It wasn't as tough a race as the Norfolk, and it also gave him a few more days than the [Oct. 5] Norfolk. One twenty-two and two was a good time, and the way he did it was impressive."

Following the Cavonnier victory, Lukas said he was thinking Breeders' Cup, and the defections of stakes winners Birdstone, Eurosilver, and Ruler's Court had nothing to do with his decision to run. Though Race for Glory will be stretching out from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles, Lukas does not believe that will be a problem.

"He's not going to have any trouble with two turns," Lukas said. "I'm thinking a lot further than a mile and a sixteenth for him."

Though Mike Smith rode Race for Glory in the Cavonnier, Lukas has turned to Cornelio Velasquez for the Juvenile. "I've been having real good luck with Cornelio," Lukas said. "I just made an audible, a coaching change."

* Trainer Marcelino Polanco confirmed that Edgar Prado will ride longshot Mambo Train.

* Cuvee, the Juvenile favorite, and Chapel Royal, the Sanford winner, arrived at Santa Anita late Tuesday morning.