10/10/2002 11:00PM

Despite losses, BC Turf still worthy


NEW YORK - The announcement from Pascal Bary earlier this week that Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up Sulamani would almost certainly not be coming to Arlington put a dent in the Breeders' Cup Turf, but the race is still of championship caliber with High Chaparral, Golan, Denon, Ballingarry, and, it is hoped, Marienbard still on target.

Godolphin has yet to make a decision concerning their Arc winner Marienbard. He could go in the Turf, for which he was being quoted at 7-2 before being withdrawn by British bookies on some questionable speculation, or he could head straight to the Japan Cup.

High Chaparral was clearly in need of the effort when he came home a close but one-paced third in the Arc. Golan, who on July 27 won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at the Turf distance of 1 1/2 miles in his first start in eight months, subsequently finished a half-length behind Nayef over an inadequate 1 1/4 miles, 85 yards in the Juddmonte International.

With Marienbard out of the betting, William Hill is now listing High Chaparral as their 5-2 choice. Golan, whose ultimate objective this year has always been the Japan Cup, is still an attractive 4-1. Denon should take some money at 6-1, while Canadian International winner Ballingarry is being offered at 7-1. Those odds would all go back up by at least a point if Marienbard is confirmed for the Turf and put back into the betting.

However, there is little value in With Anticipation's 7-1. Winner of the Man o' War, he may have finally passed the peak of his laudatory career.

Perhaps the best value in the Turf at this time is Zindabad. Unsuited to the soft ground in the Canadian International, Zindabad - winner of the Hardwicke Stakes and third in the King George - is a backable 16-1 at William Hill, a price that should not be ignored if you are willing to take a chance the ground will be firm on Breeders' Cup Day.

The state of the ground is something that trainers and players wrestle with on an almost daily basis in Europe. At Arlington, American players will have to deal with all of the questions that come into play in a situation where the turf could be firm, good, yielding, or soft, and the main track, fast, good, muddy, or sloppy.

Soft going will play havoc with the likes of Golan, Denon, and Zindabad. It will also probably force the withdrawal of Banks Hill, now trained by Bobby Frankel, from the Filly and Mare Turf and put a crimp in Islington's plans, but it would play into the hands of Kazzia, Fraulein, and Turtle Bow.

The best prices available in England for the Filly and Mare Turf are: Islington, 4-1; Banks Hill, Golden Apples, 5-1; Kazzia, 13-2; Fraulein, 12-1; Affluent, 16-1; and Turtle Bow, 20-1. The still improving Alasha, a length second to Fraulein in the E.P. Taylor, is a tempting 16-1 with William Hill.

Rock of Gibraltar goes on any kind of ground, so the best price, the 3-2 you can get from Coral Eurobet, looks good no matter what the weather. At 7-1 Landseer is more attractive than Beat Hollow, who, as he is by Sadler's Wells out of a Darshaan mare and was third behind Sinndar and Sakhee in the 2000 Epsom Derby, would surely be better placed in the Turf than the Mile.

Landseer rates at least four lengths behind Rock of Gibraltar on his European form. If Beat Hollow couldn't beat him at Keeneland, he will not be able to beat Rock of Gibraltar at Arlington.

Last year's Mile runner-up Forbidden Apple is 12-1 for the that race with Ladbrokes. Congaree is 14-1, as is Paddy Power, while Good Journey is 16-1 with Coral and Ladbrokes.

Coral has opened the first British book on the two Juvenile races. As it is generally wiser to bet American horses with British bookies and wait for track tote odds for European runners, there could be some early value plays at Coral in the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies.

Sky Mesa can be had at 7-2 for the Juvenile. Hold That Tiger, only a possibility after his thrilling victory Sunday in the Grand Criterium, looks nice at 5-1 if you want to take a chance on his being at Arlington Park and his questionable ability to get nine furlongs. Elusive City, the British Group 2 winner, has been withdrawn because of sore shins after a dull third in the Middle Park Stakes.

However, there is no value whatsoever in Coral's 1-1 on Storm Flag Flying in the Juvenile Fillies.

Coral reports a move in the direction of Orientate in the Sprint, cutting his price from 5-1 to 7-2, while Kalookan Queen has been cut from 33-1 to 16-1. But how much value is there in Xtra Heat's 8-1?

A dull-looking Classic is up for grabs. Medaglia d'Oro is a best-priced 11-2, while War Emblem is 7-1, Came Home, 9-1, and Momentum, 16-1. Harlan's Holiday is 14-1, as is Hawk Wing, the talented Aidan O'Brien trainee who disappoints time and again but who could benefit by a switch to dirt.

Unless, of course it rains and the track comes up sloppy. Beating the weatherman at this year's Breeders' Cup may prove to be as difficult as beating the horses.