07/13/2010 11:00PM

Modesty comes up strong


General Quarters was one of 11 horses entered in the Arlington Handicap, which drew a surprisingly high number of entries Wednesday. But Saturday's Million Preview Day is generally surprising, and in a good way.

The Million Preview moniker has, in some years past, not exactly described the nature of the stakes races, but this year's three stakes rate as excellent as a whole. Besides General Quarters, the Arlington Handicap attracted defending champion and 2009 Million runner-up Just as Well, plus Grade 1 winner Marsh Side and Free Fighter, who won the Louisville Handicap two starts back.

But the real gem among the three stakes is the Modesty Handicap, which got only six entrants, but has more quality than any previous edition of the race. Heading the field is Tuscan Evening, who has won all five of her starts in 2010, and ships in from California for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard just failed to beat Tuscan Evening with Forever Together in the Grade 1 Gamely on May 29, and Saturday he takes a shot with the talented Rainbow View. Rainbow View may be the race's third choice, however, with Grade 1 winner Hot Cha Cha likely to be second favorite behind Tuscan Evening.

The Grade 2, $200,000 American Derby drew a field of nine, headed by Workin for Hops, winner of the Arlington Classic, and Gleam of Hope, last-out winner of the Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs.

* Arlington will create two courses out of its wide grass oval for Saturday, placing a temporary rail in lane 5, around which the stakes will be run. Other turf races on the program will be contested on the inner course. Arlington employed the two-course setup on several days last year, but has not done so yet during the 2010 meet.