09/26/2005 11:00PM

Hurricane Run the early 5-2 pick


Early favorites Hurricane Run, Shawanda, and Motivator, plus defending champ Bago, head a list of 18 horses left in Sunday's Group 1, $2.17 million Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at the five-day entry stage on Tuesday.

While the defections in August of Electrocutionist from Italy, Zenno Rob Roy from Japan, and Kitten's Joy from America took some international luster out of this year's Arc, the remaining 18 hail from five different countries. Eleven of them have won a total of 26 Group 1 races, with Bago and the redoubtable stayer Westerner each having landed five at the highest level.

Hurricane Run, currently the 5-2 Arc favorite with both Ladbrokes and William Hill, has been pleasing trainer Andre Fabre on the Chantilly gallops this week. The Michael Tabor-owned Irish Derby winner Hurricane Run is in line to give Fabre his sixth Arc triumph.

Shawanda, owned by the Aga Khan, will attempt to become the first 3-year-old filly to land Arc honors since Akiyda turned the trick in 1982. A pair of 5-year-old mares, dark horse Pride and longshot Samando, are the only other two females likely to start in Sunday's 1 1/2-mile Arc.

Along with Hurricane Run and Shawanda, Epsom Derby winner Motivator completes a trio of 3-year-olds atop the Arc betting market. Three-year-olds have won nine of the last 11 Arcs, with only Sakhee in 2001 and Marienbard in 2002 intruding on the sequence. Both of them were trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin, but this time Suroor only has 25-1 shot Cherry Mix, last year's Arc runner-up, who has looked dull in three outings this season.

Three of the 18 still in the Arc on Tuesday - Darsalam, Konigstiger, and Manduro - were left in inadvertently by their connections, while Samando has a possible alternative engagement in the Prix de Royallieu on Saturday, meaning that there could be as few as 14 runners in Sunday's big race. The main defection on Tuesday was Azamour, who is headed to Belmont for the Breeders' Cup Turf.