07/18/2006 12:00AM

Churchill trainers take aim


A higher degree of infiltration has begun. Kentucky-based trainers who have been focusing primarily on Churchill Downs will be paying more attention to Arlington Park, now that the spring meet at the Louisville, Ky., track has ended and they are in need of alternate venues.

This point is illustrated during the Thursday program at Arlington, the Arlington Heights, Ill., track where a nine-race program kicks off at 1 p.m. Central. Back-to-back allowance races have drawn horses from the Churchill stables of Dallas Stewart and Helen Pitts, both of whom had pretty much turned a blind eye toward Chicago until Churchill ended.

Stewart, whose lone prior starter at the Arlington meet resulted in a win by Brilliant Star in a July 7 allowance, has shipped up Mark of Success for the seventh race, a $35,000 second-level allowance that drew a full field of older horses. , with Mark Guidry to ride, is part of a well-matched group that will travel a mile on turf. In his only prior attempt on turf, two races back in an allowance on June 7 at Churchill, Mark of Success checked in a creditable fourth after contesting the early pace.

The logical choice in the seventh race is , a 5-year-old gelding who hails from the powerhouse team of owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Wayne Catalano. Omaggio has been narrowly beaten as the odds-on favorite at these same allowance conditions in his last two starts and probably cannot be denied at this level forever.

Meanwhile, Pitts, who has yet to run a horse at this Arlington meet, has opted to send up the highly promising 2-year-old filly Frances G for the eighth race, a six-furlong first-level allowance open to horses of both genders. Owned by Trident Stable LLC, Frances G looked terrific when she won a Churchill maiden race on June 24 at first asking, forcing the pace before edging clear for a 1 1/2-length triumph under Calvin Borel.

Frances G, by the hot young sire Officer, will retain Borel, who makes a rare Arlington appearance. Borel customarily has shifted his tack from Churchill to Ellis Park in the summer, but this year has said he will be taking time off while accepting only the occasional mount.

Besides Frances G, other contenders in the $33,000 eighth race include the only other filly in a field of eight, the Catalano-trained Dreaming of Anna, as well as Jack Grant, Barley Beliveable, and Gear It Up.