06/29/2005 11:00PM

Guillaume Tell seeks first U.S. win


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Shaun Bridgmohan's Arlington experiment is a success. Six weeks after driving here from New York, he has opened a 19-win lead in the jockey standings and already has topped $1 million in purses. Pardon Arlington fans if they have scarcely noticed the departure of former kingpin Rene Douglas. Turning in consistently solid rides on live horses booked by ace agent Dennis Cooper - Douglas's former agent - Bridgmohan has filled Douglas's spacious shoes.

There is more to do. Douglas won a dizzying number of Arlington grass stakes during his tenure, including the last three Arlington Classics. Saturday, in the first graded turf stakes of the meet, Bridgmohan has been handed the mount on the Arlington Classic favorite, Guillaume Tell, but this ride will take some work.

, trained by Todd Pletcher, was purchased by Team Valor Stable last fall after he nearly won a Group 3 race in France. He has run well in his four-start U.S. campaign, but has failed to break through with a victory, missing three times by a length or less.

"He's caused his own problems," said Barry Irwin, one of the Team Valor principals. "He has a brilliant turn of foot, but it really lasts only about five or six seconds. It's a very short run, and the jockeys haven't timed it too well. He needs someone who can be more familiar with him and time the run a little better."

Enter Bridgmohan. He and Guillaume Tell have eight rivals in the Grade 3, $150,000 race at 1 1/16 miles. The field isn't exceptionally strong, thanks to the glut of recent 3-year-old grass races, but there are a couple of horses who could beat Guillaume Tell. One is Hole in the Head, who finished third last out in the Jersey Derby and was flattered when the two horses that beat him ran one-two last weekend in the Kent Breeders' Cup. Hole in the Head had looked mediocre before stretching out to two turns on grass in April.

"Obviously the biggest thing was when we put him on turf," said trainer Bill Mott. "No big excuses last time. He just missed second, and it was a pretty big race. You always think there's a little room for improvement."

, the Lone Star Derby winner, is the other logical contender, though Ready Ruler, United, and even Purim deserve looks as longshots. Southern Africa finished eighth in the Belmont, but won twice on turf last year in England.