08/08/2001 11:00PM

Proud Man training setback makes Secretariat unlikely


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Proud Man, the most accomplished 3-year-old turf horse in the country, is unlikely to start in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington next weekend.

Proud Man had a light breeze at Belmont Park Thursday morning and will work again in a few days. There is still a slight chance he could wind up in Chicago, but Jimmy Iselin, the head of a syndicate that owns the colt, deemed his status "extremely questionable."

Proud Man took ill last week and was forced to miss the National Racing Museum Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga, and the training setback was probably enough to preclude a trip to Chicago for the Secretariat.

"You'd want him to be at his best for a race like that," Iselin said. "He's over the sickness. But when they're so generous, you don't want to run unless they're at their best."

Proud Man, by the Florida sire Manlove, has won 4 of 6 races this year, all of them Grade 3 turf stakes. In his last start, the Hill Prince on June 16 at Belmont, he beat Package Store and Navesink, two Secretariat candidates, by a neck. Iselin said Proud Man probably would point for an early September start in the Saranac Stakes at Saratoga or the Del Mar Derby.

As for Package Store, his chances for getting into the Secretariat improve every time a defection occurs. Package Store lacks a graded stakes win, has earned less money than many Secretariat hopefuls, and is in danger or being left out of the field if the race oversubscribed.

With Proud Man likely out, and with Monsieur Cat entered here Friday, Package Store's chances have improved. Also, Kalu no longer is a definite starter here. Arlington officials reported the colt's status for the race will be determined after he works on Friday in New York.

In other International Festival news, European Mocham Glen apparently will not make the trip here for the Million. There will be four Europeans in the Million, headed by Silvano.

There were no major developments in the Grade 1 Beverly D., though Kalatiara and The Seven Seas have been upgraded to probable starters in recent days. Only one foreigner, Di Moi Oui, is likely for the Beverly D.

Soccer team may build at Arlington

The Chicago Fire, a Major League Soccer team, unveiled plans Wednesday to build a 15,000-20,000 seat stadium on the Arlington property just west of the racing oval. The suburban Daily Herald reported Thursday that three other suburban sites are being considered for the Fire's new home. The team currently plays home games at Soldier Field.

Even if the Fire selects Arlington as its preferred site, the plan still requires approval from the Village of Arlington Heights and from Arlington Park.

The new stadium would sit yards away from the racing surface, just west of the clubouse turn and just north of the chute used for seven-furlong and one-mile dirt races. The area presently is covered by a parking lot. The Fire hopes to open a new stadium by April 2002.

The Fire and Arlington operate during about the same season, though many soccer games are held at night. Arlington also is the front-runner to host the World Thoroughbred Championships in the fall of 2002. Construction of the stadium would eliminate much of the parking that presently exists on the track's west side.

Sprint next for Robin de Nest

Robin de Nest, a $30,000 claim who blossomed for trainer Tom Amoss this winter and spring and has won two overnight sprint handicaps at Arlington this summer, is likely to make his next start Aug. 25 in the Arlington Sprint Handicap.

"He's two for two at Arlington, so why not," Amoss said.

Robin de Nest will probably meet the crack sprinter Bet on Sunshine, the two-time defending champion in the Arlington Sprint. In June, Bet on Sunshine beat Robin de Nest in the Aristides Handicap at Churchill Downs, which was sandwiched between Robin de Nest's two Arlington wins.

"I don't think he had the best racing luck at Churchill," Amoss said. "That's too bad, because I thought I had him ready to go on to the next level."