08/14/2002 12:00AM

Beat Hollow will start outside his main rivals


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Suspense and intrigue were held to a minimum when post positions were drawn Wednesday for the three Grade 1 turf races, headed by the Arlington Million, comprising the International Festival of Racing, which will be run Saturday at Arlington.

With more than a quarter-mile of wide turf course before the first turn, and with sweeping turns that allow for tactical flexibility, post positions are little more than a formality in the Million, Beverly D., and Secretariat.

"I really don't care what position we get," said Chris Block, trainer of Mystery Giver and one of only two Million trainers in town for the draw.

Mystery Giver got post 5, two stalls inside the horse everyone will be watching, Beat Hollow, who was installed as a 6-5 favorite over eight rivals. Beat Hollow, to be ridden by Jerry Bailey, breaks outside all of his chief opponents. Sarafan, the only horse to have beaten Beat Hollow in the United States, breaks from post 1 and was installed as the second choice at 3-1.

Just outside Sarafan is Forbidden Apple, the lone East Coast horse in the Million. Paolini, far and away the best of four Europeans in the race, drew post 4 and was listed at 10-1.

Beat Hollow finished second in the Grade 1 Eddie Read, his last race before the Million. Caught behind horses for the race's last three furlongs, Beat Hollow had no chance to catch Sarafan, who rallied in the clear and on the outside.

The bad trip cost Alex Solis the mount on Beat Hollow in the Million. Jerry Bailey, who rode Chester House to win this race two years ago for trainer Bobby Frankel and owner Juddmonte Farms, has replaced Solis.

"The owner wanted to make a switch," Frankel said. "I wasn't going to argue."

With the traffic trouble fresh in mind, Beat Hollow could wind up on the lead Saturday as he did in his last race, the Grade 1 Manhattan. "If there's no speed, he'll be out there," said Frankel. "If not, he'll lay back."

Frankel, Bailey, and Juddmonte all are poised for a big day Saturday. Frankel also has Juddmonte horses in the Beverly D. and the Secretariat. Bailey will ride Tates Creek for him in the Beverly D., while Kent Desormeaux will pilot Chiselling in the Secretariat.

Bailey rides the 2-1 morning line favorite, Orchard Park, in the Secretariat.

Tates Creek, who drew post 6, was one of six horses entered in the Beverly D. From the rail, the others are Golden Silca, a European longshot; Volga, one of two Christophe Clement-trained horses in the race; Golden Apples, the likely second choice; England's Legend, last year's Beverly D. winner, also trained by Clement; and Astra, the race favorite who flopped in the Beverly D. last year.

England's Legend crushed Astra and the rest of her foes last season, making an easy lead over a boggy turf course. On paper, England's Legend has the speed to control Saturday's race, but Clement does not expect another theft. "I think Astra will be right at our flank this time," he said. "They know they can't let my horse go."

The Secretariat drew a field of seven when Mountain Rage and Miesque's Approval were kept out of the race. Orchard Park stands out in the field unless the Frankel-trained Chiselling, winner of the Grade 3 Lexington in his last start, continues to improve.

"He can run better," Frankel said. "He shipped in the day before the Lexington. It was a miracle he even won last time at all."