08/05/2005 11:00PM

Kitten's Joy among 10 for Million


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - In the end, there were only 10.

After rumblings a week ago of an oversubscribed Arlington Million, with more than the maximum 14 starters considered possible for Saturday's race, 10 names sat in the box when the Million pre-entry phase closed at midnight Friday.

The pre-entered horses are: Alost, Better Talk Now, Cool Conductor, Fourty Niner's Son, Good Reward, Kitten's Joy, Powerscourt, Sweet Return, Touch of Land, and Whilly. A $5,000 fee must accompany a pre-entry - plus $10,000 more to pass the entry box when the field is drawn Wednesday - and the pre-entry price typically serves to solidify the prospective field. Still, the Million could lose Better Talk Now to the Sword Dancer at Saratoga. Better Talk Now's connections will make a final decision later this week, though Better Talk Now would have to fly to Arlington on Wednesday if he's to start here.

Notably absent from the 23rd Million is trainer Bobby Frankel, who considered two horses for the race, but will send them instead to Saratoga, King's Drama to the Sword Dancer and Leroidesanimaux to the Fourstardave Handicap. Leroidesanimaux, a winner of 6 of 7 starts since being imported from Brazil, would have been among the favorites here, but he has yet to race beyond 1 1/16 miles, and Frankel declined to stretch his horse out to 1 1/4 miles in his first start in five months.

"If I had a race in him, I'd do it," Frankel said.

Kitten's Joy, last year's champion turf horse, will be the Million favorite. Based at Saratoga with trainer Dale Romans, Kitten's Joy crushed his foes in the Secretariat Stakes on Million Day last year, running faster than the older horses in the Million, and he is widely regarded as the best turf horse in the U.S.

The three-horse European contingent is headed by Powerscourt, who finished first in the 2004 Million, only to be disqualified to fourth for interference in the stretch, handing first prize to Kicken Kris.

The top 1 1/4-mile turf horses from both coasts will fly to Arlington this week: Good Reward won the Manhattan at Belmont; Sweet Return and Fourty Niner's Son finished one-two in the Eddie Read at Del Mar; Whilly won the American Handicap at Hollywood Park; and Better Talk Now, last year's Breeders' Cup Turf winner, won the United Nations at Monmouth Park.