08/08/2007 11:00PM

Secretariat, Beverly D. belong to invaders


NEW YORK - A less-than-sterling trio of Europeans in the Arlington Million should assure that the big prize stays in America for the second year in a row, but a stronger than usual foreign contingent in the Secretariat and an intriguing South African mare by way of Dubai and England in the Beverly D. could give the home team cause for concern.

Before analyzing the chances of the foreign invaders, a logistical note. After years of presenting the Secretariat Stakes as an anticlimax two races after the Million, track officials have finally ordered their biggest day properly. The Secretariat-Beverly D.-Million succession will provide a perfect buildup to the big race, in which The Tin Man, on the verge of John Henry-like status, rates a slight edge over After Market.

Arlington Million

On a line through Dylan Thomas, Doctor Dino is 2 3/4 lengths better than Danak. Doctor Dino finished 2 3/4 lengths behind Dylan Thomas when third in the Prix Ganay two back, while Danak suffered a first career defeat when finishing fourth, 5 1/2 lengths behind runner-up Dylan Thomas, in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last time. As both the Ganay and the Gold Cup were run at 1 5/16 miles, there is little to argue about where the bare form is concerned. The problem both Doctor Dino and Danak face is that neither has run since May. No horse has ever won the Million off a three-month layoff, and it is unlikely that streak will come to an end this year.

Doctor Dino may have been flattered by his Ganay third, as the race was packed with Group 2 types, Dylan Thomas excepted. Prior to the Ganay he had been campaigned in the French provinces by Richard Gibson, a most capable Lamorlaye-based English trainer. His Oct. 11 victory in the Group 3 Prix Andre Baboin is on a par with the Grand Prix de Vichy victories of Touch of Land, a Million also-ran in 2003 and 2005. In his most recent start, on May 2, Doctor Dino was beaten into third by a pair of nice Japanese Group 2 types, Shadow Gate and Cosmo Bulk, in the Singapore Airlines International Cup, hardly a signpost to victory in the Million.

Danak looms a larger threat, if only because he is still improving. But Danak, a son of the underrated stallion Pivotal, was beating little as he worked his way up through the listed and Group 3 ranks in Ireland, winning his first five starts without a loss. On the other hand, the first two finishers in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, in which Danak was fourth, subsequently scored big victories - Notnowcato in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes, and Dylan Thomas in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. If a European is to crack the first three in the Million, Danak might be the one for the high-rolling team of Aga Khan and Alain de Royer-Dupre.

As for Pressing, he was flattered when fifth of six in Royal Ascot's Prince of Wales's Stakes, in which he finished 3 1/2 lengths behind runner-up Dylan Thomas, a horse who would have stood much the same chance in this year's Million as the 2005 winner, Powerscourt. Though much improved this year and a firm ground lover to boot, Pressing looks overmatched.

Beverly D.

Team Valor's latest South African project, Irridescence, looks set for a big effort in her American debut. A veteran of the wars in Dubai, Hong Kong, France, and England as well as her native land, she has won at the Group 1 level in South Africa and beaten the great Ouija Board, as well as some pretty good males like Bullish Luck in the 2006 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin. Her sharp second to Simply Perfect in a fast running of the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes mile last month sets her up perfectly for this 1 3/16-mile race. If Irridescence avoids a speed duel, she could be the value play in upsetting the American trio of Lady of Venice, Citronnade, and Honey Ryder.

Johnny Murtagh, the hottest big-race rider in Europe right now, with recent victories aboard Peeping Fawn in the Irish Oaks and Nassau Stakes and on Dylan Thomas in the King George, enhances Irridescense's chances.


Let's cut straight to the quick and predict a victory for Shamdinan, the Aga Khan-bred runner formerly trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre and now with Doug O'Neill. A son of Dr Fong, winner of a French Group 2 at 1 1/4 miles, Shamdinan was just 1 3/4 lengths third in the 1 5/16-mile French Derby behind Lawman, subsequent winner of the one-mile Group 1 Prix Jean Prat. In the French Derby, Shamdinan finished a neck in front of Zambezi Sun, who next time ran away with the 1 1/2-mile Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris by five lengths. Shamdinan's dull effort in the Irish Derby can be forgiven as it came on ground labeled soft to heavy. Back on firm ground and at his favorite distance of 1 1/4 miles, he will get a crucial four pounds from American Derby winner Lattice, a horse who has never faced the likes of Zambezi Sun, currently the second favorite for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

The victories of Admiralofthefleet in last September's Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes and this spring's Group 3 Dee Stakes were engendered in no small part by their subpar fields. But the addition of blinkers on Admiralofthefleet by trainer Aidan O'Brien, who won this race in 2000 with Ciro, could be enough to make Shamindan work hard for his money.

Fleeting Shadow, a mere Galway maiden winner at 2, appears to be Dermot Weld's annual entry in a race the Irish trainer has never won. Bred to go a mile, this Danehill colt will also wear blinkers for the first time, but he will need more help than that to finish in the first three.