08/02/2001 11:00PM

Chindi has upset shot in Dr. Fager


Almost three weeks after the Dr. Fager Handicap is run Sunday at Arlington Park, the going will get a little tougher for the local sprint contingent.

The Dr. Fager, which attracted a solid field of 11 older horses, serves as a prep for the Aug. 25 Arlington Sprint, a $100,000 race that is the top sprint of the year at the Arlington Heights, Ill., track. The Arlington Sprint is the next scheduled start for Bet on Sunshine, the crack Kentucky sprinter who already has won two previous runnings of the race.

But first things first. If nothing else, the six-furlong Dr. Fager should provide an entertaining preview, because of the quality and depth of the field. Robin de Nest, the Tom Amoss-trained colt who won the opening-day feature here, may be a slight favorite despite having finished a disappointing fifth to Bet on Sunshine in the Aristides Handicap at Churchill Downs last month.

Other major contenders include Tic N Tin, already a winner of two minor stakes this year; Miners Gamble, a sharp victor of a classified allowance last month for veteran trainer Dennis Ebert; and Chindi, the stretch-running gray who finished second in the Arlington Sprint last year.

The balance of the field consists of Smokin Pete, Silver Zipper, Out of My Way, Bet Me Best, Magic Doe, Meandmyloveman, and Kings Command.

Robin de Nest, owned by the Tom Boy Stable, has reached peak form this year, having won five of eight starts and more than $142,000. He uses wait-and-pounce tactics, which could serve him well Sunday, since a legitimate pace figures to develop ahead of him.

If the pace is too sizzling, then Chindi could come flying for a minor upset. A 7-year-old gelding trained by Steve Hobby, he has knocked out $675,000 with his remarkable late turn of foot.

The purse for the Dr. Fager is $55,000, with nearly $20,000 more available in funds to Illinois-breds. Three of the starters qualify for bonuses: Tic N Tin, Magic Doe, and Out of My Way.

The Dr. Fager is the eighth of 10 races on a Sunday program that begins at 1 p.m. Central. Three allowances (races 5, 7, and 9) also are carded.

* Arlington officials are still including Bach as a possible for the Aug. 18 Arlington Million. Owned by Padua Stables, Bach finished a disappointing seventh Wednesday in a Group 1 race at Goodwood in England. The list of probables is led by Bienamado, Hap, and Quiet Resolve.