09/13/2005 11:00PM

Royal Copenhagen has upset potential

Singhalese looms as the filly to beat in Saturday's Pucker Up.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Singhalese already is a Grade 1 winner, having taken the Del Mar Oaks in her last start, and she may be on her way to a date in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland after racing Saturday at Arlington Park in the $200,000 Pucker Up Stakes.

But snuck onto the Federal Express flight that carried Singhalese to Chicago on Tuesday was another California-based 3-year-old filly, Royal Copenhagen. She might not be quite on a par with Singhalese - and then again, she might.

"I think there's not much separating them," said Royal Copenhagen's trainer, Laura de Seroux.

In all, 10 were entered Wednesday in the Pucker Up, a Grade 3, $200,000 turf race for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles. Absent are the one-three finishers from Arlington's overnight stakes prep for the Pucker Up, Dearest Queen and the promising Unbridled Danz.

Singhalese is trained by James Cassidy, who sent Ticker Tape to win this race last year before she went on to capture the Queen Elizabeth. And while Singhalese is almost certain to be favored Saturday, Royal Copenhagen has been pointed to the Pucker Up for quite some time, and, according to de Seroux, is sitting on a big race.

"That's why I skipped the Del Mar Oaks," said de Seroux. "I wanted her good and fresh for this race. She's a 100-percent honest filly, gives her best every time she runs, been very reliable, and she's coming into this race really wanting to run."

De Seroux said she intends to blow out Royal Copenhagen over the Arlington turf course Thursday morning. Getting permission from track officials to do so should not present a major impediment, since Arlington chairman Dick Duchossois owns Royal Copenhagen. With eight wins, Duchossois is having a strong Arlington meet, but none of his victories has come in a race with the prestige of the Pucker Up.

In fact, Royal Copenhagen has not won a race of any sort since being imported from France. Seconds, however, have been no problem: Royal Copenhagen has placed in five stakes in the last 10 months. De Seroux pointed out that her filly and Singhalese have similar off-the-pace racing styles. They figure to be together for much of the Pucker Up; it remains to be seen which one will be in front at the end of it.

Sorcerer's Stone returns for Futurity

The wait is nearly over for Sorcerer's Stone, who has been training steadily away at Pat Byrne's Churchill Downs base since impressively winning the $45,000 Honest Pleasure Stakes here on July 31.

The layoff has come about by design, and Sorcerer's Stone is coming into Sunday's closing-day Arlington-Washington Futurity in at least the form he showed before the Honest Pleasure, according to Byrne.

"He's doing super," said Byrne. "I'm very comfortable training from race to race. I'm comfortable off the layoff. I though that the time in between would benefit this colt more than racing every three weeks."

Sorcerer's Stone, a buyback from Keeneland's 2-year-old in training sale last April, has always struck Byrne as a horse that would improve with distance and age, and Byrne said his horse's ability to win a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race in early July surprised him. Sorcerer's Stone showed speed, too, in the Honest Pleasure, and has been working swiftly, even when Byrne has instructed his rider to take Sorcerer's Stone in hand.

"I told him to go [three furlongs] in about 37 the other morning, and he went in 35 and change," said Byrne.

Byrne said the Futurity would serve as a good stepping-stone to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, if Sorcerer's Stone turns out to be of that quality.

"A one-turn mile and a sixteenth, this would set him up well for that," he said, referring to the distance of the Juvenile.

Sorcerer's Stone, scheduled to ship here Thursday, is one of about 10 expected for the Futurity. Also expected to start is Grand Survival, an impressive Saratoga maiden winner trained by Patrick Biancone.

Others considered likely runners are Broadway Ridge, Catcominatcha, Charley Tango, Cool Valley Cowboy, Mondavi, Mr. Pinstripe, and Transduction Gold.

* The Arlington-Washington Lassie, also set for Sunday's closing-day card, could draw 10 runners, among them Saratoga maiden winner Ex Caelis, and Lizzy's Township, a stakes winner at Mountaineer. Others possible for the race are American Diva, Coolwind, Dyna's Gold Legend, Idle Quest, Jazzy Okie, Joint Effort, Mimosa Mist, Original Spin, and Trout River Red.

* The Friday feature is race 5, a money allowance race with a $100,000 claiming option carded for five furlongs on turf. The field includes Code of Ethics, Glitterbdancing, Pretty Jenny, Dharma Girl, Goldleafed Mirror, and Rich City Girl.