08/14/2002 11:00PM

Foreigners best chances are in Million, Secretariat


The horses in races like the Arlington Million might be divided into three groups: foreign invaders, ex-foreign-trained horses, and horses that have been trained exclusively in the United States.

In 19 runnings, the Million has been won by foreign invaders five times: Tolomeo, Teleprompter, Mill Native, Dear Doctor, and Silvano. Ex-foreigners have also won five Millions: Perrault, Estrapade, Steinlen, Golden Pheasant, and Chester House. American-bred and -trained horses have won it eight times: John Henry (twice), Manila, Tight Spot, Paradise Creek, Awad, Mecke, and Marlin.

The odd man out is Star of Cozzene, who began his career in the U.S., spent a season in France with Francois Boutin, then returned to America prior to his Million score in 1993.

On Saturday, the ex-foreigners would appear to be the strongest group. Beat Hollow and Sarafan are first and second favorites both ontrack and with the British bookies. They are joined by Arlington Handicap winner Falcon Flight.

American turf racing is increasingly dominated by foreigners and ex-foreigners, and the only purely American products in the race are Forbidden Apple and Mystery Giver. There are four European invaders on hand. Two of those, Paolini and Cheshire, have dark-horse chances.

Arlington Million

Paolini follows in the footsteps of his former Andreas Wohler-trained stablemate Silvano, who became the first German horse to win the Million last year. There is not much to choose between the two, except that Silvano had arrived at Arlington freshened following a strenuous four-race Asian campaign that had yielded victories in the Singapore Cup at Kranji and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin.

In his start prior to the Arlington Million, Silvano finished fifth in the Singapore Airlines International Cup on May 12.

Paolini, on the other hand, began his 2002 season with a sharp second to Grandera in the Singapore Airlines race on May 11. Primed for the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19, he had moved into striking range on the final turn when he was victimized by a traffic jam. Badly bumped, he clipped heels and lost what appeared to be a good chance at victory.

Paolini will be partnered by Silvano's rider, Andreas Suborics, who has been at Arlington this week working the 5-year-old son of Lando.

Silvano had already earned three 125 Timeform ratings prior to the Million. Paolini's best marks are three 119's. Another 119 might not be enough to overhaul a horse as accomplished as Beat Hollow.

John Hammond knows his way around Arlington Park, having engineered Dear Doctor's Million victory in 1992. Cheshire is the Chantilly-based Englishman's latest candidate. Dear Doctor had triumphed in two Group 3's and a Group 2 before he landed in Chicago, but Cheshire is far less accomplished.

A lightly raced 5-year-old son of Warning, Cheshire won his first graded stakes last time out with a victory in the 1 1/4-mile Group 3 Grand Prix de Vichy. An improving sort who should take to firm ground, he will be running late but appears to be slightly overmatched. He was seven lengths behind Keltos earlier this year, albeit on unsuitably heavy ground, and Keltos is in the same league as Beat Hollow.

A victory by Ulundi would cause American handicappers to rethink their disparaging attitude toward jump racing. A 7-year-old Rainbow Quest gelding, Ulundi was good enough to take the Grade 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle last year. But when was the last time a jumper won a Grade 1 race on the flat?

Trained by Paul Webber, Ulundi is a solid performer in top-class 10-furlong handicaps. He has won his last two attempts on the flat in such races, the last at Royal Ascot in his seasonal debut, an effort that earned him a Timeform rating of 123.

Ulundi comes to Arlington fresh, having not raced since June 21 and only once since November, but good British handicaps rarely rate better than listed races. He is taking a major step up in class, and victory would be in the realm of a Seabiscuit-like fairy tale.

Like Paolini, Freefourinternet had trouble on the turn in the Prince of Wales's Stakes. The firm-ground-loving Tabasco Cat 4-year-old has never been better. A bit on the smallish side, a factor that helped him win a listed race around Chester's tight turns two back, he rates only an outsider's chance.

Selections: 1. Beat Hollow, 2. Paolini, 3. Forbidden Apple

Beverly D. Stakes

Golden Silca faces a tough task against defending champ England's Legend, Astra, and Golden Apples. An inveterate world traveler, Golden Silca, who is trained by Mick Channon, was only seventh last time in the Nassau Stakes, a race with virtually identical conditions as the Beverly D. What's more, she has a tendency to break slowly and could be left with a lot to do entering the stretch.

She is at her best at or about a mile, as evidenced by her good second to the talented and improving Tashawak two back, as well as her fourth vs. colts in the Dubai Duty Free.

Selections: 1. Golden Apples, 2. Astra, 3. England's Legend

Secretariat Stakes

Jazz Beat overcame a poor start to finish a fast-closing second to Mananan McLir in the American Derby. He had come out of what has developed into a key Royal Ascot race, the New Stakes, and will be a major player for Dermot Weld if his second transatlantic journey from Ireland in less than a month hasn't taken too much out of him.

Love Regardless is an intriguing prospect from the North Yorkshire yard of the canny Scottish trainer Mark Johnston. Overmatched when thrown into the 2000 Guineas in his first start of the year, the Storm Bird colt improved to win a decent Group 3 mile in Germany two weeks ago. With further improvement expected, he is certainly as good as anything else in the field if he can overcome the perceptions about his inability to stay 1 1/4 miles.

Selections: 1. Love Regardless, 2. Chiselling, 3. Jazz Beat