09/03/2003 12:00AM

Harty is getting better results


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The blue Godolphin signs are still prominently displayed at trainer Eoin Harty's Arlington barn, but this is a different Godolphin operation than the one that first came to Arlington in 2001.

For starters, the horses do not even run for Godolphin any more: They start in the name of Darley, a sort of proving ground for Godolphin horses. And the Darley horses have run more this year - and won more this year - than during Godolphin's first two seasons at Arlington.

Through Monday, Harty's Arlington string had compiled a record of 10 wins, 6 seconds, and a third from 32 starts. With close to a month remaining in Arlington's meet, Harty already has run more horses than during his first two years here, and the 10 wins equal the combined total from 2001 and 2002.

Harty had only 2-year-olds here the first two seasons, but now there are older horses, too. For the first time, the Arlington string, headed by assistant trainer Davey Duggan, will meet up with Harty's main string in California this winter, not in Dubai.

"The whole concept, I think, has started to change," Duggan said Wednesday morning.

Harty agreed. "Dubai was fine for us, but being afforded to stay year-round seems positive," he said.

After wintering in Dubai, the horses who had been based at Arlington often wound up scattered all over the world the next season. There will be more continuity this year. Both Harty and Duggan suggested that the operation was concentrating on developing American horses from start to finish.

For instance, perhaps the best Darley horse to run at Arlington this summer is Old Kent Road, a horse with an American sprint pedigree who was purchased out of a 2-year-old in training sale this year.

"That's something I'd like to continue to do, and I think we will do more of that," Harty said.

Old Kent Road won his maiden impressively and was to have run in stakes races at Saratoga but suffered a minor setback and is back in California with Harty, who expects him to start again this year.

Darley's best horses at Arlington may be the 2-year-old Zosima and Ya Lajwaad, a 3-year-old Deputy Minister colt who has won two straight.

Sue's Good News will try turf

Pleased with the way Sue's Good News handled herself in a turf workout last weekend, trainer Steve Hobby plans to run Sue's Good News in the Grade 3 Pucker Up here Sept. 13.

A 3-year-old filly owned by Cresran LLC, Sue's Good News has won 5 of 6 starts, including a strong 1 1/4-length score here in the Singapore Plate on Aug. 9. The Pucker Up will mark Sue's Good News's turf debut, and Hobby wanted to see how she took to grass in a breeze before committing to the race.

"Chris Emigh worked her, and she worked great," Hobby said. "I don't know how much you can really tell about how they like grass from just a work, but that's why we had Chris work her. He's worked her a lot on dirt, and he'd be able to tell how she went. He actually said she felt better on turf than she did on dirt."

If Sue's Good News runs well in the Pucker Up, Hobby said he would look at other grass stakes this fall. If not, Sue's Good News could return to dirt in the Indiana Oaks.

"She's doing really well right now," he said. "She's growing a lot. Her pedigree says she should be even better next year as a 4-year-old."

Act of War may go back to dirt

A lack of pace compromised Act of War last weekend when he finished third in an overnight handicap at 1 1/2 miles on turf. Now, trainer Gene Cilio is contemplating a return to dirt racing for Act of War, one of the best older Illinois-breds in training.

Cilio said Wednesday that Act of War remained under consideration for the Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap on Sept. 20 at Kentucky Downs, but Cilio also is mulling a run in the Hawthorne Gold Cup on Sept. 28. Act of War won the Cardinal Handicap on grass for his best win this season but before that race ran well in a nine-furlong dirt allowance.

"I think he's just as good on either surface," Cilio said.