06/19/2001 11:00PM

Chicago Six may pass on Prairie State Festival


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Three days before Arlington's Prairie State Festival, which features six stakes races for Illinois-breds, the participation of the star of the show, Chicago Six, remained uncertain.

Trainer J.R. Smith Sr. said Wednesday afternoon that he and owner Richard Trebat hadn't decided if Chicago Six would start in the Cardinal Handicap on Saturday or await another race, perhaps the Grade 3 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker on July 7.

An Illinois-bred by Wild Again, Chicago Six was transformed from a claiming horse to a multiple stakes winner after Smith and Trebat claimed him for $18,000. Chicago Six won a graded stakes this spring, the National Jockey Club Handicap, where he beat Guided Tour, winner of the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap last weekend. Smith and Trebat had considered running Chicago Six in the Foster but passed on the race.

Chicago Six last raced in the Hawthorne Gold Cup, where he finished unplaced in an uncharacteristically poor performance.

Chicago Six raced in the Cardinal last year, finishing sixth over a yielding turf course. Turf, in fact, is one of the reasons Chicago Six might not run Saturday. "He runs all right on it, but he's just not quite as good as on dirt," Smith said.

The Cardinal, contested at 1 1/16 miles, is shaping up as the strongest of the Saturday stakes, with 11 horses besides Chicago Six considered probable for the race. And that list doesn't include Minor Wisdom, the defending champion, who trainer Richie Scherer said Wednesday is still possible for the race. Minor Wisdom, who hasn't raced since Jan. 4, worked a strong five furlongs on turf Wednesday morning.

Reno Rumble, second in the Cardinal last year, also is a likely starter.

Meanwhile, Minor Wisdom's full sister, Sabathani, also worked on turf Wednesday morning and is under consideration for the Lincoln Heritage, the filly-and-mare counterpart to the Cardinal. Sabathani suffered a heart problem during her last race at Churchill Downs, and Scherer wanted to monitor her condition following her Wednesday breeze before committing her to the race.

The Lincoln Heritage also will have a defending champion in Ioya Two, who won the race last year for trainer Chris Block. Block sends out Davey's Cutlass in the White Oak, a six-furlong race that the 5-year-old Davey's Cutlass won last season. He hasn't started since Aug. 17 and is coming off surgery to remove bone chips, but has been training well here.

Capitol View will defend her title in the Lincoln Heritage, a sprint for fillies and mares, while the pair of 3-year-old races, the Springfield for colts and the Purple Violet for fillies, will have solid fields. The Springfield in particular looks strong, with five of the nine likely starters coming off wins. Meadow Champ, 4 for 5 in his career, heads that field.

Alvarado set to return

Jockey Frank Alvarado, who had been scheduled to open the meet here but suffered an injury on May 10 at Bay Meadows, was scheduled to resume riding Thursday. Alvarado suffered what his agent Brad Pegram described as a "tiny hairline fracture at the bottom of his ribs" when his mount in the Ascot Handicap broke down and fell.

"He's feeling good," Pegram said Wednesday. "He's been breezing horses since Sunday."

Alvarado, who has been based in northern California, came to Arlington in large part to ride for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who has put him on two horses Thursday, Autographed Copy in the sixth and Hippodrome in the seventh.

Guidry back with old team

Mark Guidry, who ran away with the jockey title here last summer, was tied for the lead through Wednesday's third race, in part because he has begun riding again for the owner-trainer combination of Frank Calabrese and Wayne Catalano. Guidry hadn't ridden for Catalano and Calabrese since early last summer at Arlington, when he declined to ride the Catalano-trained, Calabrese-owned Power and Panache after warming the horse up before a turf allowance race. Power and Panache picked up a new rider and finished second that day.

Catalano and Calabrese were less than pleased, and Guidry lost their business. But Guidry's new agent, Ronnie Ebanks, recently arranged a meeting with Calabrese, where the jockey was offered a chance to ride many of Calabrese's horses.

"We're going to ride him on what we can," Catalano said. "It's like Pat Day in Kentucky. If you've got Guidry, then you ain't got to beat Guidry."

On Friday, Guidry rides Quixote's Prince for Catalano and Calabrese in the featured seventh race, a third-level sprint allowance that has drawn a field of six. Quixote's Prince, a $40,000 claim in February, just missed winning a race at a similar class level when he last ran May 12 at Hawthorne.

Distinctive Mr. B could be the horse to beat from post 1. Second in his last two starts, Distinctive Mr. B may grab an early lead under Ramsey Zimmerman. Group Leader and Star Advantage also rate as contenders.