06/10/2003 11:00PM

In Chicago BC, local hope rests on Summer Mis


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Raging Fever has won three Grade 1's and banked close to a million and a half dollars in a wonderful four-season career. She's coming from New York to Arlington for Saturday's $175,000-added Chicago Breeders' Cup, but lying in wait is Summer Mis, winner of the, um, the . . .

Okay, so the Illinois-bred Summer Mis hasn't won a race of any consequence - yet. But it is not for lack of talent. A beautiful 4-year-old bay filly by Summer Squall, Summer Mis has flashed brilliance but has yet to deliver a peak race when everyone was watching. She has tried just one open stakes race, finishing fifth in the Singapore Plate here last season, and to date her most important win was a four-length score over statebreds in the Purple Violet a year ago.

Now she gets another chance, and if sheer love and devotion fuel her, Summer Mis can upset the Chicago BC.

"First comes my wife and my daughter," said trainer Tony Mitchell. "Then there's Summer. She has the aura around here of horses that are special."

Mitchell and his small string of horses have run rampant in Chicago this year, winning at close to a 50-percent clip. Mitchell trains primarily for the Illinois breeder and owner Richard Otto, and they have three horses pointing for statebred races next weekend at Arlington. For Summer Mis, the stakes are higher.

"Mr. Otto wants to go here, and his breeding program needs some graded stakes status," Mitchell said. "This could really help."

Summer Mis has sputtered in two-turn races but comes off a six-furlong win over high-end allowance horses and moves out to seven furlongs Saturday, perhaps her best distance. And as for keeping up with the likes of Raging Fever, Mitchell is keeping things simple.

"We'll have to put on our bloody running shoes and go with her," he said.

Besides Raging Fever and Summer Mis, seven fillies were entered Wednesday in the Grade 3 Chicago BC, which has come up an excellent race. They are For Rubies, Ifyouprefersilver, See How She Runs, Cielo Girl, Miss Lodi, Abundantly Blessed, and Oglala Sue.

Package Store: Long wait over?

Package Store has been sitting on go for weeks. The problem for his trainer, Walter Bindner, has been finding a place to go.

Since an impressive allowance-race victory April 24 at Keeneland, Package Store has been entered and scratched from a Churchill allowance race that came off turf, and entered back in several Churchill grass races that failed to fill.

"I've been trying to run for a month," Bindner said Wednesday. "He needs a race right now."

There's one for him Sunday at Arlington - the $150,000-added Sea o'Erin Breeders' Cup - and Bindner said Package Store is scheduled to ship from Churchill to run in it.

This is Act 2 of Package Store's career. A 5-year-old, Package Store was a stakes horse two summers ago at age 3, finishing second in the Hill Prince and Lexington at Belmont, but he never really got untracked last year, winning only one allowance race in four starts.

Tom Skiffington trained Package Store until this winter, when he went to Bindner at Fair Grounds. "The horse was turned out, and the owners decided to go a different direction," Bindner said.

Package Store's Keeneland race, where he rallied strongly in the stretch and won going away, was his first for Bindner.

"I've only had him this year, but I think he's one of the better grass horses I've had," Bindner said. "He's a pretty strong horse, very professional."

The Sea o'Erin was expected to draw a field of about seven when entries were taken Thursday.

Private Son one to beat

Turf horses not quite ready for the Sea o'Erin go in the feature here Friday, a high-end allowance race at about 1 1/8 miles. Seven were entered in the race Wednesday, but both Baker Road and Saquache were entered only for the main track.

On turf, Private Son is the one to beat, and this horse is overdue for some luck. Narrowly second in the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes here last season, Private Son had significant trouble in his seasonal debut this winter at Gulfstream, and he was rained off grass in the May 2 Nicole Stakes at Hawthorne. Dirt racing is not Private Son's thing, and his distant fifth-place finish in the Nicole should be seen in that light.

He has Fourth Floor and Man O'Rhythm to beat Friday, both of whom seem to excel on Arlington's grass course.