08/12/2007 11:00PM

Jambalaya resting after Million win


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - And just as quickly, everyone went home.

That's one of the things about Arlington Million Day - it's the rare starter in one of the local Grade 1 turf races who actually is locally based, and by the Monday after Million Day, almost all the participants have scattered to the wind.

Home at Woodbine was the day's hero, Jambalaya, who had a roll in his stall, a graze on some Canadian grass, and a good nap - all well earned. After winning the most important race of his career, 5-year-old Jambalaya was no worse for wear, according to trainer Catherine Day Phillips, but perhaps slightly on the tired side.

"He's great," said Day Philips, the daughter of trainer Jim Day. "But he's had three hard races in a six-week period of time, plus shipping to Chicago in hot weather. I'd say he's a little tired. I think we'll give him a little bit of a break."

How quickly Jambalaya bounces back from his Arlington adventure will go a long way toward determining his next start. The Sept. 8 Man o' War at Belmont is a possibility, but if Jambalaya is not ready for that, he could start instead in the Sky Classic Stakes on Sept. 23 at Woodbine, Day Philips said.

Woodbine, however, may not be Jambalaya's favorite course. Day Phillips said she believes Jambalaya prefers smaller courses than Woodbine's unusually large oval, and that while Jambalaya might not be a true 1 1/2-mile horse at Woodbine, he might be able to produce a top effort at the distance racing on a smaller course. Monmouth Park, site of the Breeders' Cup Turf, fits Jambalaya's needs, and Day Phillips said the Breeders' Cup would be a logical consideration if Jambalaya does well into the fall.

Day Phillips also was surprised that Jambalaya won the biggest race of his career over a wet turf course, since it had seemed he was at his best on firmer going.

"The morning of the race, we were out walking the course, and I said, 'What are we doing? We swore we wouldn't run him again on a soft racetrack,'" Day Phillips said. "But once you've come that far, it's hard to back out."

The Tin Man, who narrowly held second Saturday, also came out of the Million in good physical condition and could be pointed to the Clement Hirsch Turf Challenge on Oct. 6 at Santa Anita, trainer Richard Mandella said.

"That's his usual stop," Mandella said.

For a moment, when he surged clear at the top of the stretch, The Tin Man looked like he would win his second straight Million, but he was no match for Jambalaya late in the race. Mandella said he didn't want to make excuses for The Tin Man's loss, but he, too, thought his horse looked like a winner three-sixteenths of a mile from the finish, and said the wet turf Saturday might have hurt The Tin Man's kick.

"When he really started driving, then he started bobbling in that heavy ground," Mandella said. "I thought he would handle it a little better."

The Tin Man was the favorite among Saturday's crowd of 32,055, a good-but-not-great number. Ontrack handle for the 12-race card was $3,121,350, while all-sources handle on Arlington's live program totaled $14,001,210. Both figures are lower than those from 2005 and 2006.

Royal Highness targets Flower Bowl

Beverly D. winner Royal Highness arrived back at trainer Christophe Clement's New York base Monday morning and is the one winner on Arlington Million Day who seems unlikely to wind up in a Breeders' Cup race. All three Grade 1 winners earned Breeders' Cup slots if their connections want them, but the Breeders' Cup Challenge Win and You're In program does not take care of any entry fees. Since Royal Highness, a German-bred, isn't BC eligible, her connections would have to pay a $180,000 supplementary fee to start.

Clement said there were other good options for Royal Highness, who won the first Grade 1 or Group 1 race of her career Saturday, narrowly getting past a game Irridescence. Clement said Royal Highness could start in the Flower Bowl Handicap on Sept. 23 at Belmont, with an eye also toward the $1 million E.P. Taylor on Oct. 21 at Woodbine.

Royal Highness - unlike many horses Saturday - handled the conditions well. The course was upgraded from yielding to good midway through Saturday's card, but perhaps without suitable justification. Several riders said they considered the course yielding, and trainer John Oxx, who sent Danak for the Million expressly hoping for firm turf, called the course "good to soft" during a prerace interview on ABC television.

Clement, however, pointed out that Royal Highness had won over firm going at Gulfstream, and was not a one-dimensional wet-course specialist.

"It might have hurt some of the others, but she can run on anything," he said.

Irridescence, a tough-luck second after shipping from England for trainer Mike de Kock, is scheduled to remain in the United States and race the remainder of this season before being bred next year. Richard and Sue Ann Masson's Green Lantern Stables has bought out a Team Valor partnership that co-owned Irridescence through Saturday, and the 6-year-old mare is scheduled to be transferred to trainer Rusty Arnold.