08/05/2004 11:00PM

Frankel coming back for more

Email

CHICAGO - It is not like Bobby Frankel has something to prove at Arlington Park's International Festival of Racing. The International Festival includes three Grade 1 turf races, and Frankel has won them all. In 2002, he went 2 for 3, taking the Secretariat with Chiselling and the Million with Beat Hollow. Last year, the Frankel-trained Heat Haze won the Beverly D.

All points converge on the possibility of a Frankel sweep, and he may have a chance next Saturday. Frankel, reached Friday in New York, said he definitely has horses for the Beverly D. and the Million, though he remains on the fence with the supremely promising Greek Sun, who could run in the Secretariat. Greek Sun is unbeaten in three starts, all on turf, with easy wins in the listed Hill Prince and the Grade 3 Cinema Breeders' Cup. Greek Sun's other option is the La Jolla at Del Mar, and then the $400,000 Del Mar Derby.

"He's ready," Frankel said. "He's had plenty of time. I just haven't made up my mind what to do."

For the Million, Frankel has Vangelis, a close seventh in the race last season when he was French-based and trained by Alain Dupre. Although Vangelis had been in California more than a month, Frankel officially took the helm for the July 25 Eddie Read, in which Vangelis rallied from last to finish sixth of 10, beaten just more than three lengths.

"I like the way he's finished in his last two races," said Frankel.

Commercante won a Belmont allowance race by more than 11 lengths in her only start since being imported from France, and Frankel said she is definitely coming from New York for the Beverly D. He also could send Light Jig from California, despite that filly's dull sixth-place finish July 24 in the Grade 1 Mabee Handicap.

"She'd been colicky that morning. They thought she'd be all right for the race, but she wasn't," Frankel said of Light Jig's disappointing performance. "She's fine now."

Million, Beverly D. could have full fields

Official Million pre-entries were due at Arlington by midnight Friday, but by midday, racing secretary Frank Gabriel had a good feel for the field. Barring a last-minute surprise, there will be 14 horses pre-entered in the Million, and if all start, it will be the first full field since 1994. The expected pre-entries include the American-based runners Hatif, Kicken Kris, Mobil, Mr O'Brien, Mystery Giver, Quantum Merit, Sabiango, Senor Swinger, Sweet Return, and Vangelis; and the European-based Epalo, Magistretti, Powerscourt, and Vespone.

Gabriel also listed 14 possible starters for the Beverly D., which picked up a new contender in Riskaverse, who was third in the race last year and second last weekend in the Diana at Saratoga. The Beverly D. has never gone with a full field.

As the Million and the Beverly D. swell, the Secretariat, which once looked unbelievably strong, has diminished. The race lost another possible starter Friday, when Timo was taken out of consideration. Timo was to have come here for the American Derby in July, but injured a hoof before shipping. The Secretariat now has seven possible starters, headed by Kitten's Joy, but at least two of them are just as likely to pass the race as to run.

Fortunistic should be ready now

Fortunistic almost accomplished what most horses fail to do - win an allowance race in her first try. Her neck loss here July 18 came in only her second career start, and brimming with upside, Fortunistic is the horse to beat in Sunday's featured eighth race, an entry-level allowance with a $50,000 claiming option.

That Fortunistic won her career debut here came as no surprise, since each Arlington season trainer Mike Stidham wins more than his share of older maiden races, especially with fillies. The most pressing question Sunday is whether Fortunistic can run as well around two turns and 1 1/8 miles as she has in one-turn miles.

If not, a filly named My Time Now appears to be the logical alternative.