Updated on 09/16/2011 8:23AM

Calm before the storm at BC site


CHICAGO - These last two weeks have been a transition period for Arlington Park. The Oct. 4 opening of Keeneland, with its astronomical purses, has lured many Midwest trainers to Kentucky, and between Sept. 29 and Oct. 25 the racing schedule here includes all of one stakes race, the $75,000 Manila on Oct. 12.

But just as the air has gone out of this meet, the big show comes to town, and horses intended for the Oct. 26 World Thoroughbred Championships begin taking up residence here in the coming days. Xtra Heat, scheduled to start Saturday in the Phoenix Breeders' Cup at Keeneland, will ship to Arlington on Sunday to train for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, and eight horses from the New York stable of trainer Patrick Biancone will arrive here on Monday.

Biancone said his shipment includes the prominent 2-year-olds Whywhywhy, Zavata, and Stellar. Brancusi, who was to have raced Saturday in the Champagne at Belmont Park, also will be part of the Arlington contingent. Zavata was forced out of the Champagne with a minor ankle injury, but remains on target for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, where he will join Futurity winner Whywhywhy.

"I think it's good for them to move there," Biancone said. "It gives them a chance to acclimatize to the weather and the track. We'll try to play like it's home."

Arlington officials expect a flood of Breeders' Cup horses to arrive on the grounds after Oct. 15.

Watch Grey Cart, Man O'Rhythm

Sunday's overnight stakes feature, the Taylor's Special, is carded for five furlongs on grass. But don't count on it staying on turf.

The local drought ended in a big way this past week, and even with a dry weekend - unlikely, according to forecasters - turf racing Sunday is in jeopardy, especially since Arlington will take every measure this month to preserve its grass course for Breeders' Cup races.

The one-two finishers in a Sept. 21 turf-sprint allowance - Grey Cart and Man O'Rhythm - deserve respect again, since their last race came on soft turf, a condition that certainly will be duplicated if Sunday's race stays on grass. But there was a fluky element to that Sept. 21 result: The turf was soaked, the pace was soft, and Grey Cart was a 16-1 outsider in a six-horse field.

If the Taylor's Special is on dirt, Classic Appeal, Gold Taker, and Meandmyloveman have the best chance.

Gold Taker and Meandmyloveman could battle on a fast pace, setting the table for Classic Appeal, though that gelding has suffered from seconditis the last two seasons.

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