07/20/2008 11:00PM

Gio Ponti might try Secretariat


Gio Ponti, the winner of the Virginia Derby last Saturday, is a good possibility to run back in the Aug. 9 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park, trainer Christophe Clement said Monday.

"I need a few more days," Clement said from Belmont Park. "I would like to run him. If he bounces back quickly, I'll say yes, but if not, we'll wait for something else. We have time to wait and see."

By virtue of his nose victory over Court Vision in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs, Gio Ponti won for the fourth time in five career starts and further entrenched himself as one of the leading 3-year-old turf horses in North America. The Secretariat, a Grade 1 race with a $400,000 purse, long has been a definitive race in the division.

Court Vision, whose near-miss marked his best effort in quite some time, is highly unlikely to ship from New York for the Secretariat because there is only three weeks between the races, said trainer Bill Mott. Likewise, Sailor's Cap, third as the favorite in the Virginia Derby, most likely will not run because of the timing of the race, said Barry Irwin, president of the colt's ownership syndicate, Team Valor International.

The Secretariat is one of three Grade 1 turf races on the Aug. 9 International Festival of Racing, which as usual will be highlighted by the Arlington Million. Other known prospects for the 1 1/4-mile Secretariat include Tizdejavu, winner of the American Derby at Arlington; a pair of Irish-based colts, Plan and Collection; and the Mike Stidham duo of Secret Getaway and Sr. Henry.

Meanwhile, word from Del Mar is that neither Monzante nor Whatsthescript, the respective one-two finishers in the Grade 1 Eddie Read on Sunday, will be shipping east for the 26th Million.

The Read frequently produces a starter or two for the Million, but without a major prospect from California, it appears that the top contenders for the Million remain Archipenko, Einstein, Stream Cat, and Cosmonaut.

Lewis Michael returns in Sea o' Erin

The feature this weekend at Arlington, the $150,000 Sea o' Erin on Saturday, is expected to mark the seasonal debut for Lewis Michael, unraced since finishing a distant fifth last October in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

Lewis Michael, an earner of nearly $625,000 for breeder-owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Wayne Catalano, shows a steady series of recent workouts, ending most recently with a seven-furlong breeze Saturday in 1:28 over the Arlington Polytrack.

The Sea o' Erin will be run at a mile on the turf. Lewis Michael has not raced on turf since winning an allowance race at Gulfstream Park more than 16 months ago.

Other older horses expected for the Sea o' Erin include Coragil Cat, Steve's Double, Embossed, and Karelian.

It pays to play Karlsson

Inez Karlsson, the 23-year-old Swedish native who won four races on the July 10 card at Arlington, has rewarded her loyal followers with a productive return on investment so far at the meet.

Karlsson has won with 20 of 204 mounts, with her winners averaging a $24.60 mutuel. A $2 win bet on every mount would have netted an $82 profit, or a $2.40 ROI.

* Jean Laurenz has taken over as the new bugler at Arlington. Laurenz, 21, is a music student at nearby Northwestern University.

- additional reporting

by Steve Andersen and Jay Privman