10/07/2003 11:00PM

Only seven likely to run - and the defending champ isn't one of them


As of Wednesday, only seven horses were listed as probable for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf, to be run at Santa Anita Oct. 25.

They are: Balto Star, Deeliteful Irving, Falbrav, Johar, Storming Home, Sulamani, and The Tin Man. Bright Sky and High Chaparral also were under consideration.

Defending champion High Chaparral's status for the race has not been finalized. He finished third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris on Sunday. Trainer Aidan O'Brien told the European press that a decision will be made closer to the pre-entry deadline Tuesday.

The first two finishers in the Arc - Dalakhani and Mubtaker - will not start in the Turf. Dalakhani may be retired and is certainly finished for the year, while Mubtaker may start in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket, England, on Oct. 18.

Three major stakes winners dominate the prospective lineup for the Turf - Falbrav, winner of three Group 1 races in England this year; Storming Home, winner of the Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita and disqualified from the win in the Arlington Million; and Sulamani, winner of the Turf Classic at Belmont Park and put up to first in the Arlington Million.

Falbrav won the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile at Ascot on Sept. 27, and could be rerouted to the Breeders' Cup Mile.

On Tuesday, trainer Luca Cumani said Falbrav must be supplemented to the Turf for $180,000, and will arrive at Santa Anita a week before the race if he starts.

"The horse is doing fine and a decision will be made closer to the time," he said.

Falbrav and Sulamani are listed as 9-4 co-favorites in future-book betting for the Turf with English bookmakers.

Stuart Subotnick's Antsu Stable will start Deeliteful Irving and Balto Star, who were second and third in the Turf Classic. Balto Star is a front-runner, a style that led to a win in the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park in July.

Deeliteful Irving ran his best race of the year in the Turf Classic despite experiencing trouble in the stretch. Fifth on the final turn, he rallied through traffic along the inside to finish second.

"Everyone was so busy watching Sulamani," trainer Michael Dickinson said. "[Deeliteful Irving] was boxed in from the three-eighths to the eighth pole and he needs time to get rolling."

The winner of the 2002 Pan American Handicap at Gulfstream Park, Deeliteful Irving has made three starts since returning from an 18-month break, winning an allowance race at Monmouth Park in August and finishing fifth in the Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 6.

Dickinson says Deeliteful Irving is rounding into form in time for the Turf.

"It's taken him two or three starts to get fit," Dickinson said. "He'll love the firm going."