08/06/2004 11:00PM

Herculated returns in style

David Zenner
Herculated runs down pacesetter Warleigh in mid-stretch to win the $150,000 Sea o' Erin Breeders' Cup Mile by a half-length on Saturday at Arlington Park.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Everything seemed so rosy in the springtime. Herculated had won three allowance races in a row and was second in the Mervin Muniz, his stakes debut. He went to Pimlico for the Grade 2 Dixie in May and was the 7-2 favorite in a good field. Herculated came back to Arlington with a 10th-place finish and feet so sore he could not train for a month.

Consider him back.

Making his first start in three months, Herculated bulled his way between rivals and won the $150,000 by a half-length Saturday at Arlington. He ran one mile on turf in 1:36.48, with a final furlong in less than 12 seconds.

The turf was rated firm, but not too firm.

"Getting him back on a surface that wasn't going to hurt his feet, that was the key," said trainer Mike Stidham. "But you never really know if they're going to come back to the way they were."

Herculated was making just the 10th start of his career in the Sea o'Erin. On grass, he has won five of seven starts, and somewhere, there is probably a graded stakes with his name on it.

False Promises ran his best race of the season to finish second, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Major Rhythm. Herculated, the second choice in a 10-horse field, paid $6.60 to win.

Warleigh, the Sea o'Erin favorite, cut out fractions of 24.46 seconds for the opening quarter and 48.33 for a half while racing on a clear lead. He came up empty at the top of the stretch, though, and faded to eighth.