06/07/2005 11:00PM

Lord of the Game tries turf


It's Claiming Crown prep day at Arlington on Friday, at least for Lord of the Game, who is considered the early favorite for the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Canterbury Park on July 16.

Winner of the Grade 3 Hanshin Handicap, is the class of the ninth race, a $14,000 starter allowance at a mile on turf for horses that have raced for a claiming price of $10,000 or less in 2004-2005 - provided he handles the surface. Not once in his seven-race career has he tried the grass.

Besides a score in the Hanshin over the Arlington main track, Lord of the Game has five other wins. His only loss came when he finished third behind Pollard's Vision and Badge of Silver in the Grade 3 National Jockey Club at Hawthorne on April 23.

By Saint Ballado, Lord of the Game's pedigree is geared more toward dirt than turf. Offspring of Saint Ballado win their turf debuts at only a 7-percent rate, and Lord of the Game's lone sibling to try the grass, half-sister Showpiece (by Holy Bull), was unplaced in her only start on turf.

Regular rider Eddie Razo has been named to ride by trainer Tommy Tomillo.

, who won five in a row in similar starter races over the winter at Fair Grounds before losing a pair of races at Lone Star this spring, heads the opposition.

* Friday's featured eighth race, a $27,000 allowance for entry-level allowance runners, drew a field of seven female sprinters. Marina Light, off a runner-up finish in a mile race May 20, may hold a slight edge over Sudith and Tally Ho Dixie in a competitive group.

* Arlington Park will offer advance wagering on Saturday's Belmont Stakes shortly after Arlington's last race Friday. Advance wagers will be commingled into the Belmont Park pool.

Arlington will open a half-hour earlier than usual, at 10:45 a.m., to accommodate the Belmont Stakes Day card, which begins at 11 a.m. Central time. On Saturday only, Arlington bettors will be able to shop for better Belmont Stakes odds with wagering available into a special Illinois-only pool and the larger Belmont Park pool.

* Nominees for the 23rd running the Grade 1 Arlington Million on Aug. 13 have been released. Notable nominees include Powerscourt, Epalo, Better Talk Now, and Kitten's Joy.

Also to be contested Aug. 13 is the Grade 1 Beverly D. and

Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes.