09/26/2006 12:00AM

Likely fewer than 12 to run in Arc

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The big three of Deep Impact, Hurricane Run, and Shirocco head a list of just 12 horses who remain in the field Tuesday at the five-day entry stage for Sunday's $2.55 million Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

The actual number of runners in the Arc, Europe's premier 1 1/2-mile event, is likely to be fewer than that, as trainer Aidan O'Brien has left in both Dylan Thomas and Alexandrova, both unlikely starters. Dylan Thomas is earmarked for the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, while Alexandrova is more likely to go in the 1 1/4-mile Prix de l'Opera against fillies and mares on the Arc undercard, as is the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Germance. With Championship Point apparently left in by his British trainer Mick Channon by mistake, the Arc field could shrink to as few as nine, even if Princess Zahra Aga Khan supplements her Prix Vermeille winner, Mandesha, by Thursday's deadline. The St. Leger Stakes winner, Sixties Icon, has already been supplemented for the required $76,000 by his owner Susan Roy.

The state of the ground is expected to play a key role in the outcome of the Arc. On Tuesday morning at Longchamp, the penetrometer read 3.3, or on the good side of good to soft. Good ground would tend to favor Deep Impact, who has never run on anything worse in Japan, where the ground is usually firm. It would also favor the Prix Niel winner, Rail Link, as well as Mandesha, whose trainer, Alain de Royer-Dupre, is keeping a close watch on the skies, ready to supplement his 3-year-old fillly should they remain clear.

Soft ground would favor the Andre Fabre-trained pair of Hurricane Run and Shirocco, as well as the Royer-Dupre-trained mare Pride, who has beaten both of the Fabre trainees in the past year.

Ladbrokes list Deep Impact and Hurricane Run as their 5-2 Arc co-favorites. Shirocco is 3-1, Rail Link 6-1, Pride 10-1, and Mandesha 12-1.

* Europe's leading 2-year-old, Teofilo, the undefeated winner of the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh on Sept. 17, has been ruled out of Sunday's Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp. His trainer, Jim Bolger, will consider the seven-furlong Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on Oct. 14 as the season finale for Teofilo, a Galileo colt.