07/31/2006 11:00PM

Arlington Million cast in flux


CHICAGO - The final shape of the Aug. 12 Arlington Million will be sculpted by decisions coming from trainers on both coasts, Todd Pletcher in New York and Neil Drysdale in California. Pletcher could run United Nations Stakes winner English Channel in the Million, or could opt to keep him in New York for the Sword Dancer at Saratoga. Drysdale could opt to run Eddie Read Handicap winner Aragorn in the Million, but said Tuesday he is more likely to point Aragorn - more a miler type - to the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Mile or the Woodbine Mile.

"We're leaning against it right now," Drysdale said of Aragorn's chances for coming to the Million.

Pletcher said Tuesday that both English Channel, second in last year's Secretariat, and Go Deputy, who won the Bowling Green Handicap in his last start, would be among the Million pre-entries, a list that will be finalized by midnight on Friday. One horse could wind up at Arlington, the other in the Sword Dancer.

Other prominent horses are more definite for the race. The prospective field includes Ace, second in the Breeders' Cup Turf last year; 2004 Breeders' Cup Turf winner Better Talk Now; Cacique, winner of the Grade 1 Manhattan this summer; and Phoenix Reach, an English-based Group 1 winner who has not raced in a year. Others considered likely Million starters are Cosmonaut, plus Soldier Hollow and Touch of Land, two more Europeans. If Aragorn does indeed stay home, The Tin Man may ship from California for the race.

The Grade 1 Beverly D. has a solid core of nine probables, with a couple of others considered possible starters. Topping the list of likely runners are Film Maker, Gorella, Honey Ryder, and Melhor Ainda.

The Grade 1 Secretariat appears to be coming together with a smaller field than was anticipated a week ago. Atop the list of probable starters are Showing Up, winner of the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup, and Go Between, winner of the $1 million Virginia Derby. Others expected to be entered are Amigoni, Proudinsky, Niagara Causeway, and perhaps Union Avenue, the American Derby winner. Two Europeans, Red Rocks and Royal Intrigue, have defected from the race; two others, Ivan Denisovich and Primary, are expected to run. Seaside Retreat, second in the Virginia Derby, remains a possible starter.

Suave's main goal: BC Classic

Suave, who set a track record impressively winning the Washington Park Handicap on Saturday, is being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Classic at trainer Paul McGee's home track, Churchill Downs, but what route he takes getting there remains undecided.

McGee, reached Tuesday in California, said that Suave had exited his win in good physical condition, but that no specific plans had been made for his next start.

"Everything's really up in the air right now," he said.

The Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park is a possible landing spot for Suave, and McGee said he was inclined to give the horse one rather than two starts before the Breeders' Cup.

Siblings have something special

A day after the good 3-year-old Lewis Michael torched an overmatched group of allowance foes at Arlington, his 2-year-old sister, Dreaming of Anna, ran her record to 2 for 2 with an easy victory in the $60,000 Tippett Stakes at Colonial Downs, where she set a track record of 1:01.63 for 5 1/2 furlongs on turf - quite an accomplishment for a 2-year-old making only her second start. Dreaming of Anna, who won by more than seven lengths, debuted with a four-length win on dirt May 19 at Arlington.

"I rate her right now as the top 2-year-old filly that has been in my care," said trainer Wayne Catalano. "She seems to be pretty good."

Dreaming of Anna may stay on turf for the time being; her connections are tentatively pointing for the one-mile Natalma Stakes on Sept. 10 at Woodbine.

Lewis Michael ran one mile in 1:34 winning a second-level allowance by more than eight lengths while under a hand ride. Lewis Michael could wind up in the St. Louis Derby at Fairmount Park later this month, but he also has been nominated to the seven-furlong King's Bishop as well as the Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

Both horses were produced by the Broad Brush mare Justenuffheart, whom owner-breeder Frank Calabrese since has sold.

"I always say, you might get one good horse out of the mare, but this is special," said Calabrese.

Fort Prado possible for Sea O'Erin

A field of 10, headed by defending champion Fort Prado, is considered possible for Saturday's Sea O'Erin Stakes, entries for which will be drawn Wednesday.

Fort Prado won the Black Tie Affair for Illinois-breds in his most recent start, and comes into the Sea O'Erin on a four-race win streak, all in stakes races. His competition may include the good Canadian-based miler Le Cinquieme Essai, plus Free Thinking, Kid Grindstone, Therecomesatiger, Gin and Sin, Major Rhythm, Cougar Cat, Home of Starts, and perhaps a horse from trainer Bobby Frankel.