07/30/2002 12:00AM

Ballet will be well bet

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CHICAGO - If you're going to play races at Arlington, you'd better be prepared to deal with a fundamental issue: Kentucky.

Kentucky shippers trickle north to Chicago throughout the year, but with the Churchill spring-summer meet in the books the trickle becomes a torrent this time of year.

There's even a weekly shuttle ferrying horses between Louisville and Arlington Heights. Grey Ballet recently took it, and she's one of nine horses entered in Arlington's featured eighth race Thursday, a fourth-level turf allowance with a $75,000 claiming option taken by two horses.

Kentucky form carries a lot of weight with the betting public. Horses with decent Churchill form take much action when they take their act to Chicago, sometimes with good reason, sometimes not.

Grey Ballet no doubt will be the favorite. From the popular Steve Flint barn, she will be ridden by Rene Douglas and comes off a second-place finish in a Churchill race at this class level. The ingredients are there for a short price.

Flint has sent only three horses to Arlington this summer. One missed the board, one finished second, and the other won, eking out a narrow victory when she was heavily favored because of the Churchill shipper angle.

Yes, Grey Ballet can win the feature if she reproduces her best efforts, such as a second in the $200,000 Calder Oaks last fall. But a long look at the locals also is in order.

Soccory badly needed a race when she finished last May 5 at Hawthorne after a long layoff, but her next two starts were solid. She was second to Twilite Tryst and third to Ellies Rose, and they ran one-two here a week ago in an excellent turf allowance race.

Sams Tune responded favorable to the addition of blinkers and her first trip over the grass with a narrow second-level allowance win here June 30. She controlled a slow pace that day, however, and the horse she nipped got nothing in her next race.

M and M Machine finished ahead of Soccory in a stakes June 22.

* The Aug. 17 Arlington Million is beginning to take shape. The best of the American horses considered likely to run are Beat Hollow, Forbidden Apple, Suances, The Tin Man, and Sarafan. Top Europeans being considered for the Million are Freefourinternet and Paolini.

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