07/20/2010 2:40PM

Million Preview card results look strong


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Most years, the top horses on Million Preview Day at Arlington disappear either literally or figuratively when Arlington Million Day itself rolls around in August. But Million Preview Day 2010 looked stronger than most years going into the races, and it appears that the three graded grass stakes contested here Saturday will have more impact than usual on the three Grade 1 grass races scheduled for Aug. 21.

The top-three finishers from the Arlington Handicap – Rahystrada, Just as Well, and Tajaaweed – all are likely to return for the Arlington Million. General Quarters, sixth as the narrow second choice here Saturday, also remains a possible Million starter.

Meanwhile, the first four across the finish in the Modesty Handicap – Tuscan Evening, Eclair de Lune, Hot Cha Cha, and Rainbow View – all could return for the Beverly D. next month.

And finally, Workin for Hops can sweep Arlington’s Mid-America Triple with a win in the Secretariat Stakes. Workin for Hops won the American Derby on Saturday even more easily than he had captured the Arlington Classic here in June, but he will have Paddy O’Prado to beat in the Secretariat. Paddy O’Prado handled Workin for Hops in the Colonial Turf Cup in June and on Saturday won the Virginia Derby by 1 1/2 lengths. Interactif, second to Paddy O’Prado on Saturday, is more likely to start in the Hall of Fame at Saratoga than ship in for the Secretariat, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

The one-two finishers in the Modesty, Tuscan Evening and Eclair de Lune, were to fly back to California on Tuesday, but both are expected to return next month. Tuscan Evening was heavily favored to win the Modesty, but Eclair de Lune’s performance came as a surprise. Privately purchased out of France by Arlington chairman Dick Duchossois, Eclair de Lune was only a listed stakes winner overseas and had finished fourth in her two California starts this year for trainer Ron McAnally. But McAnally said he felt certain that Arlington’s turf course would suit his filly more than those in Southern California, and Eclair de Lune quickened just as well as Tuscan Evening on Saturday – no easy feat. Moreover, the 4-year-old German-bred filly has an excellent disposition and looked the picture of health and calm this weekend after her first cross-country shipping experience.

General Quarters’s ankle seems fine

Daily barn notes published Sunday at Arlington painted a fairly bleak picture for trainer Tom McCarthy and his one-horse stable, General Quarters. General Quarters had turned in his first flat performance of the season in the Arlington Handicap, finishing a well-beaten sixth with no apparent excuse, and, worse still, had come out of the race favoring an ankle. A planned trip to the Arlington Million appeared highly doubtful.

But contacted Tuesday in Kentucky, McCarthy had a happier tale to tell. McCarthy elected not to have General Quarters’ balky ankle X-rayed because the horse had ceased showing signs of discomfort.

“It seems like he might have just jammed it a little,” McCarthy said. “That track was awfully hard. He runs without bandages up front, and we’ve never had any problems. It seems to be all right. We’re going to walk him one more day, then gallop him and see how he gallops.”

If General Quarters trains to his McCarthy’s satisfaction, he could still make the Aug. 21 Million, but McCarthy would like to hear of substantial rain falling in Chicago sometime soon. General Quarters won the Turf Classic this past spring at Churchill over a wet course and appears to prefer some give to the ground.

“If they could get some rain on that track, that would really help,” McCarthy said.

Beverly D. may be short for Treat Gently

Trainer Bill Mott said Tuesday that Treat Gently, sharp winner of the Robert Dick Handicap on Saturday at Delaware Park, was “50-50 at best” to ship in for the Beverly D.

Treat Gently won the Dick by 1 1/4 lengths after having captured the Sheepshead Bay at Belmont in her previous start. Both races were contested over 1 3/8 miles, and Mott conceded that the 1 3/16-mile Beverly D. could be on the short side for Treat Gently.

“We’re noncommittal now, but it appears she might be better going a little bit longer,” Mott said.