07/28/2008 12:00AM

Karelian holds on in Sea o'Erin


A horse coming off a lengthy layoff was supposed to prevail in the $150,000 Sea o'Erin Handicap at Arlington Park.

But instead of Lewis Michael, the even-money favorite in a field of 10 older horses, the winner was Karelian, who got a perfect stalking trip under jockey James Graham before holding off Yate's Black Cat to win the Sea o'Erin by three-quarters of a length.

Karelian, owned by D. Richard Masson and trained by Rusty Arnold, returned $16.40 after finishing one mile in 1:36.37 over a firm turf course. The 6-year-old Bertrando gelding was making his first start since he won a Saratoga allowance 11 months earlier.

Both Karelian and Lewis Michael had great trips from just a few lengths behind Voy Por Uno Mas, the longshot front-runner. Turning for home, both were poised to strike, but only Karelian went on, while Lewis Michael, unraced since the Breeders' Cup last October, faded to fourth.