07/17/2007 12:00AM

Lewis Michael to try stakes again

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It has happened again. Lewis Michael has turned in a top performance when it mattered least. Not that winning a high-end allowance race on Sunday at Arlington was meaningless, but the winner's share of a $37,500 purse pales in comparison to the money Lewis Michael could earn if he merits a career at stud. That's not so far-fetched, either, since Lewis Michael is in general from a good family, and in particular a full brother to champion filly Dreaming of Anna.

"A stroll in the park," was how trainer Wayne Catalano described the seven-length whupping Lewis Michael laid on the classy Fifteen Rounds in the one-mile allowance race. Lewis Michael, geared down late with an eye toward future starts, was timed in an excellent 1:35.33, and that on a Polytrack not playing as fast as it had Saturday.

Catalano and owner Frank Calabrese hope the race serves as a steppingstone to a stakes win. There are two future options in that regard, both at Arlington, but Catalano said Lewis Michael was more likely to be pointed to the Aug. 11 Sea O'Erin than the July 28 Washington Park. At one mile on turf, the Sea O'Erin fits Lewis Michael in terms of distance, but the colt's ability on Polytrack at least opens as a tiny option the Washington Park, which is contested at 1 3/16 miles on that surface.

Whichever race, Catalano just hopes Lewis Michael runs like he did Sunday, and doesn't meet up with one horse that freaks out with a peak performance. That happened here in May, when Lewis Michael was second to Spotsgone, a horse probably his inferior, but one who got loose on the lead over a speed-favoring Polytrack. Lewis Michael also has been second in stakes races to Sunriver, Midnight Lute, and Silent Name, and third to Lawyer Ron in the St. Louis Derby.

"It's a joke," said Catalano, albeit a bitter one. "He's run some big races and gotten beat. He just hooks horses that run out of their skins that day."

Dreaming of Anna, meanwhile, was to board a van Tuesday night and travel to Virginia, where she starts Saturday in the $200,000 Virginia Oaks.

Frankel mapping out stakes spots

Bobby Frankel will participate to some extent in Saturday's Million Preview Day, but as of Tuesday was still weighing many options concerning which of his grass horses would run where. One horse likely to ship to Arlington, however, is Argentina, who probably will be favored if she goes in the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap, one of three graded turf stakes on the day.

Argentina hasn't raced since last October, and she had a frustrating 2006 campaign, going winless in six starts despite finishing third or better in four of them. Argentina prepped for her comeback first in California, then in New York, where she was forced to miss a recent allowance race after tying up, said Frankel.

"She's doing well, and she's ready," he said.

Meanwhile, Frankel said Out of Control, who upset The Tin Man last out in the American Handicap, would not come to the Arlington Handicap, but instead be pointed to the Eddie Read at Del Mar. New York-based Giant Basil is a possible entrant, Frankel said, and Citronnade, among the nation's best female turf horses, is pointing to the Beverly D.

The Million Preview Day card is to be drawn Wednesday.

Douglas far ahead in jockey race

Rene Douglas has run away from the field in the race for leading jockey at Arlington. Through Sunday, Douglas had 74 wins from 292 mounts, compared to second-place Chris Emigh's 47-for-324 record. Douglas is well on his way to his fifth Arlington riding title.

Jockeys Corey Lanerie and Mark Guidry begin riding here this week. Robby Albarado's first day at Arlington is Saturday.