09/13/2001 11:00PM

Fan Club's Mister faces elders in Tex's Zing


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. The Grade 2 winner Fan Club's Mister would be a standout in most $45,000 Illinois-bred handicaps, but in Sunday's feature at Arlington he's just one of three logical contenders. Along with Minor Wisdom and Reno Rumble, Fan Club's Mister forms a powerful top end in the Tex's Zing Handicap, a handicap race for Illinois-breds to be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Joining the top three in the Tex's Zing are Smilin' Slew, Grandpa Two, and Mister Volare, understudies who would need the top choices to falter, and Court Lite Kenny and G All Day, a pair of longshots who will race as an entry. Minor Wisdom and Grandpa Two also are coupled.

The 3-year-old Fan Club's Mister, who will be facing older horses for the first time, has run in graded stakes all summer, finishing a close fourth in the Arlington Classic, upsetting the American Derby at odds of 18-1, and most recently checking in sixth, beaten less than five lengths, in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes here Arlington Million Day.

Trained by Rickey Harris, Fan Club's Mister has good route speed but will not be alone on the lead, as Minor Wisdom, himself a graded stakes winner, also prefers the front end.

Minor Wisdom has had a checkered 2001 campaign, but came back to his best form here Sept. 3 when he was beaten a neck facing open company in the $100,000 Sea O'Erin Stakes. Minor Wisdom, trained by Richie Scherer, has not raced in state-bred company since he won the Cardinal Handicap here 15 months ago on Prairie State Day.

That's the same race the 7-year-old Reno Rumble won here this summer for owner Team Block and trainer Chris Block, but Reno Rumble could manage only fourth-place finishes in his last two starts, though he was not beaten badly in either try. If Reno Rumble has an edge Sunday it is in terms of pace: He is a closer in a race laden with early speed.