08/10/2001 11:00PM

Probable field of 13 for Million


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - When Arlington Park raised the Arlington Million's purse to $2 million last year it drew a field of seven, the smallest in the race's 18-year history. Apparently, this race is about more than cold cash. With its purse back down to $1 million, the Million attracted 13 pre-entries by the midnight deadline Friday night.

The number of pre-entries is a fairly accurate barometer of the actual Million field, since pre-entering requires a $5,000 fee. One of the entries, Slew Valley, is unlikely to run, having raced in Saturday's Sword Dancer at Saratoga. Any other withdrawals before entry time on Wednesday are likely to stem from injury. If all of the remaining horses run, it will be one of the larger Millions, though a full gate of 14 has started several times.

There were no major surprises on the list, though King Cugat, who became a potential starter late this week, was not pre-entered, with trainer Bill Mott electing to stay his original course and run Saturday in the Sword Dancer at Saratoga. Four of the 13 pre-entries were Europeans: Silvano, Caitano, Muakaad, and Compton Bolter. Silvano, a German-based horse who has campaigned around the world, is rated the European with the best chance.

Bienamado, the top-rated turf horse in the U.S., should be a strong favorite in the Million. He finished fourth in the race last year, but has emerged as a more consistently top-class horse during his 2001 campaign. Bienamado ships mid-week from California and will be joined here by Californians Redattore, White Heart, and Senure. Redattore won the Grade 1 Eddie Read in his last start and is unproven at the 10 furlongs of the Million. His presence, along with that of the speedy Bienamado, assures an honest pace in the race.

White Heart won the Grade 1 Early Times Turf Classic this spring and the Grade 1 Whittingham Handicap at 10 furlongs last year. He is trained by Neil Drysdale, who has never won the Million during his Hall of Fame career.

Senure is trained by Bobby Frankel, who won his first Million last year with Chester House. Senure was placed first via disqualification in the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap last month.

Hap is the only East Coast horse scheduled to run in the Million. The lightly raced Hap has won 9 of 14 career starts while being expertly managed by Mott, but has not yet faced top company this year and has never run farther than nine furlongs.

Also pre-entered were Quiet Resolve, a Canadian-based horse trained by Mark Frostad, and Make No Mistake and Takarian, who finished one-two in the Arlington Handicap, the local prep for the Million.

The Million along with the Beverly D. and the Secretariat, two other Grade 1 turf races, comprise the International Festival of Racing. The three races will be drawn here on Wednesday. Horses began shipping in for the stakes Saturday, when the first of two European shipments arrived. The major flight from California is scheduled for Wednesday, with Hap to arrive the following day.

Europeans will stable here in the quarantine barn and must be kept away from American horses when they train, coming out after regular training hours have ended. Departing from standard policy, Arlington will permit training on its turf course all week long.