08/08/2007 12:00AM

Rail spot poses strategy question


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It would have taken something like the late supplemental entry of John Henry into the Arlington Million for the importance of Wednesday's International Festival of Racing post position draw to equal the pomp surrounding the event, but the Beverly D. draw did hatch at least a little intrigue.

Citronnade, the 2-1 morning-line favorite and a habitual front-runner, drew the rail, meaning she will break from inside the Beverly D.'s other primary pace factor, the longshot Jennie R., who landed post 5. Irridescence, who should be forwardly placed but probably not on the lead, drew post 3.

Lahudood breaks from post 2, Lady of Venice post 4, Honey Ryder post 6, and Royal Highness post 7. Honey Ryder is listed as the 5-2 morning-line second choice, but it would be no surprise if Lady of Venice, an impressive winner of the CashCall Mile last out, took significant betting action.

Citronnade has won four straight races, all graded stakes, and all on the lead. Her rider, David Flores, will have to decide whether to try and make the lead over Jennie R. and E.T. Baird, or - and this seems more likely - take back a bit and try and assume a pressing position to the outside. Such an effort could be hampered, however, if Irridescence shows enough speed to keep Citronnade pinned along the inside.

Citronnade's trainer, Bobby Frankel, said the filly doesn't need to race on the lead, but that she would prefer to be in the clear.

"She doesn't want to be in behind, but she can track, too," Frankel said. "We're going to let her run out of the gate, but if [Jennie R.] goes, we can track her."

The $750,000 Beverly D., a Grade 1, is contested on turf over 1 3/16 miles.

Red Giant 5-2 in Secretariat

Nine horses - the biggest stakes field of the day - were entered in the Secretariat Stakes, with Red Giant, one of two Todd Pletcher-trained 3-year-olds, installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Those projected odds stand in stark contrast to Red Giant's price in his most recent race, a 37-1 upset of the $1 million Virginia Derby on July 21 at Colonial Downs.

From the rail out, the field for the Secretariat consists of Going Ballistic, Admiralofthefleet, Fleeting Shadow, Lattice, Red Giant, Love Dubai, Mostacolli Mort, Shamdinan, and Pleasant Strike, Pletcher's second horse. Two European invaders, Admiralofthefleet at 3-1 and Shamdinan at 7-2, are listed as the second and third choices on the line. Love Dubai was an 11th-hour entrant in the race.

Shamdinan, who was purchased privately after his most recent race, will start in the name of trainer Doug O'Neill, but O'Neill has yet to lay eyes on the horse, and will not be in Chicago to saddle him Saturday. Shamdinan will join O'Neill's stable in California following the Secretariat, O'Neill said Wednesday.

The Secretariat pace scenario is murky: There are no confirmed front-runners in the field. Whoever winds up on the lead could dawdle on a slow pace.

Seven for Beverly D.

With seven fillies and mares passing the entry box Wednesday, the Beverly D. will have one of its shortest fields when it is run Saturday for the 18th time. Only twice in race history has a smaller field left the gate in the Beverly D. - in 1997, when Memories of Silver won under Jerry Bailey, and in 2002, when Golden Apples won under Pat Valenzuela.

If all start, this would be the fifth time that only seven fillies and mares have run in the Beverly D. The largest field, 13, started in 1992, when Kostroma won under Kent Desormeaux.

Hirsch cited for Million's birth

Among several tributes to this being the 25th Arlington Million, Nick Clarke of the International Racing Bureau gave Joe Hirsch the most credit for how the race came to be in 1981.

"Although many people have claimed fame" through the Million's existence, Clarke told a Wednesday luncheon crowd at Arlington, it was actually Hirsch, the retired executive columnist for Daily Racing Form, who played the largest role in the Million becoming a world-renowned event.

"He was the father, mother, and midwife of this operation," said Clarke. "Without Joe Hirsch, none of us would be sitting here today."

Pair of Sea O'Erin winners to try again

Nine horses were entered in a fourth Saturday grass stakes, the Sea O'Erin, which was moved this year to become part of the Million program.

The field includes the horses who won the last two editions of the one-mile Sea O'Erin: Fort Prado, who captured the race in 2005, and Therecomesatiger, who won last year. The others in Sea O'Erin are Rapid Proof, Load a Chronic, Tiganello, Spotsgone, Galantas, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Come on Jazz.

Regwell vulnerable as favorite

Friday's featured ninth race is for second-level allowance horses at about five furlongs on turf, though with rain having fallen throughout the week and forecast to continue through Thursday, turf racing could easily be cancelled.

Whatever the case, race 9 is tough to figure. Regwell looks like a certain favorite, but has made a habit of losing races at short odds, and was second July 13 to 38-1 winner Zagor's War. Zagor's War also returns in the Friday feature, and may actually have a chance to run right back to his surprise victory.

* Racing at Arlington was delayed some 40 minutes Wednesday afternoon and patrons forced to cluster in the racetrack's interior because of a tornado warning. But though funnel clouds were reportedly sighted in the area, nothing came of the severe weather alerts, and racing resumed without incident.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee