09/22/2002 11:00PM

Macho Uno shows he's fit enough


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The Monday weather at Arlington Park was crisper than Macho Uno's five-furlong work here, but trainer Joe Orseno said the goal of Macho Uno's breeze was not to light up stopwatches, but to show that he is fit enough to start Sunday in the Washington Park Handicap. And after seeing his star return to the barn following the work, Orseno said Macho Uno was on target for the Grade 2 Washington Park, his Breeders' Cup Classic prep.

The Washington Park is one of four stakes here this weekend; it shares the Sunday card with the Sea O' Erin Breeders' Cup Mile. Saturday's card features the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie and the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity, and at least 12 2-year-olds are expected to be entered for each.

Working by himself after galloping once around the track, Macho Uno broke off strongly at the five-furlong pole and turned in an even breeze in 1:03. Clockers here were more impressed with his gallop-out, six furlongs in about 1:16. Orseno was happy that Macho Uno did not appear tired afterward.

When Macho Uno breezed last Monday at Woodbine "he came back blowing more than I expected," Orseno said. "But off of this, he seemed fine. I didn't see him take a deep breath."

Orseno wasn't at all concerned with Macho Uno's time, which was not especially slow considering the range of workout times Monday.

"I know how to make him work fast, but this is six days out from the race," he said.

Orseno emphasized that Sunday's race is designed to get Macho Uno to the Breeders' Cup in top form.

"This is a prep," he said. "I don't look for him to run a monster race. It gives him a race over the track, and I'm not knocking the other horses in this race, but they aren't the same ones he's been going against."

There are not many of them. As of Wednesday, only five were confirmed for the Washington Park, with Bonus Pack, Generous Rosi, Pleasant Breeze, and Tenpins set to join Macho Uno.

The Sea O' Erin, at one mile on turf, also will have a short field and the possible favorite, Del Mar Show, was 50-50 for the race. Barring an appearance by Del Mar Show, Capsized is the horse to beat in the Sea O' Erin, having come to hand this summer for trainer Lisa Lewis with a pair of wins at Saratoga. Also expected are Al's Dearly Bred, Mystery Giver, Rahy's Secret, and Smilin' Slew.