07/15/2004 11:00PM

De Seroux reconsiders Million Preview


CHICAGO - In the end, trainer Laura de Seroux couldn't find a reason not to return to Arlington Park next weekend with Ballingarry and Toasted. So earlier this week, de Seroux changed course and decided to ship the pair of grass horses from her Southern California base back to Chicago.

Ballingarry, who easily won the Stars and Stripes Handicap on July 4, and Toasted, who was equally impressive taking the Arlington Classic the day before, will be here next Saturday for the three-graded-stakes afternoon dubbed Million Preview Day. And this year, with the American Derby on turf replacing the Round Table Stakes - a dirt race - as the Secretariat prep, the title is accurate.

Speaking a half-hour after Ballingarry's victory, de Seroux expressed doubt that either horse would return for Million Preview Day. The races would come up too quickly, de Seroux said, and she preferred to have Ballingarry fresh for the Million and Toasted fresh for the Secretariat.

"That's why trainers are a little loath to make a plan right after a race," de Seroux said Friday afternoon. "My first instinct was to wait, but they both came back on their toes. I guess they had pretty easy races."

The condition of her horses was one factor in de Seroux's decision. The other drew on her management skills. "I started inquiring about the depth of the Secretariat and the Million," she said. "If I'm 15-1 in those races, I might wish I would have come back for these. They're both happy, healthy horses."

Rene Douglas, who rode both horses here last time, will have return calls, de Seroux said. Ballingarry and Toasted leave Tuesday. "The shipping schedule worked out perfect," de Seroux said. "It's a super-easy flight there."

Frankel likely to run King's Drama

If there are graded grass stakes at hand, Bobby Frankel's name is sure to surface. Frankel nominated six different older male turf horses to the Arlington Handicap and said Friday that he had chosen King's Drama as a likely participant. King's Drama actually has been here before, finishing ninth in last year's Secretariat. He was based in Europe then, and in his only start for Frankel, King's Drama easily won an optional claimer at Belmont at the Handicap's 1 1/4-mile distance.

Not surprisingly, Frankel has bigger plans for Million Day. He said he tentatively is pointing Greek Sun, an unbeaten 3-year-old owned by Peter Angelos, to the Secretariat, and that he probably would have two horses for the Beverly D - Commercante and Light Jig. Commercante has raced just once in the U.S., winning a third-level allowance race by more than 11 lengths May 29 at Belmont.

Other horses considered likely starters in the Handicap are On the Course, Rowans Park, Mystery Giver, Greybeard, and Sharbayan, who has been transferred from Wally Dollase to the Arlington-based Frank Kirby.

Toasted probably will face tougher foes in the American Derby than he did in the Arlington Classic. Expected for the race are Kilgowan, Samwise, Simple Exchange, and Timo. Dermot Weld, who has captured two of the last four American Derbies, including the 2003 edition with Evolving Tactics, trains Simple Exchange, who is to arrive Monday.

Martin will ride out meet

Eddie Martin, who won the riding title at the recently concluded Lone Star meet, has shifted his tack to Chicago and says he intends to ride here for the remainder of the meet. Martin's first day was Friday, and after a swing north to ride in Claiming Crown races Saturday, he gets back to business Sunday at Arlington.

Calabrese donates $200k to riders

Leading owner Frank Calabrese has made good on his pledge to donate $200,000 to Arlington riders seeking to raise money for the Disabled Jockeys Endowment Fund. The national Jockeys' Guild administers the Fund.

Arlington riders, with the notable exception of leading jockey Rene Douglas, began wearing a patch bearing the logo of Calabrese's printing company, FCL graphics, two weekends ago. But Calabrese delayed giving over his promised funds, citing legal issues and a swirl of controversy around the plan. Some owners and trainers have balked at having jockeys riding their horses display the logo of Calabrese's company. Horsemen wishing to opt out of the plan can do so at the time their horses are entered.

"Everything's in place now," said Ray Sibille, one of the riders who spearheaded the plan.

The group says it hopes to attract more local sponsors soon and wants the program to expand to racetracks outside Arlington. Under the arrangement, 100 percent of all sponsorship money is channeled into the Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Scherer finds a way to win

Trainer Richie Scherer had been shut out at Arlington going into the fifth race Thursday. To change his luck he took drastic action.

"I bet $2 to win on every horse but mine," Scherer said.

Dylan, the horse Scherer trains, won by a neck.

"I'm going to keep doing it," said Scherer. "Even if my horse loses, I'm going to cash a ticket."