08/01/2008 12:00AM

Ten horses probable for Million


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Some horsemen like to "take a look" at a stakes race with a prospective starter. They will enter the horse in the stakes, and if the scenario doesn't look right, scratch with no excuse required, and no penalty. But to "take a look" at the Arlington Million costs $5,000 in pre-entry money, which is why pre-entries for the Million usually - barring injury or illness - represent what comes out when final entries are taken Wednesday.

The pre-entry deadline for the Aug. 9 Million was midnight Friday, but as of Friday afternoon the 10 pre-entries, with riders, were Archipenko (Kevin Shea), Cloudy's Knight (Ramsey Zimmerman), Einstein (Robby Albarado), Mount Nelson (John Murtagh), Out of Control (Garrett Gomez), Silverfoot (Rene Douglas), Spirit One (Ioritz Mendizabal), Stream Cat (Julien Leparoux), and Sudan (John Velazquez). Cosmonaut was pre-entered with no rider named, and was also entered in Sunday's Fourstardave at Saratoga.

Archipenko, shipping from England, may wind up the race favorite for trainer Mike de Kock, who saddled Irridescence to a second-place finish in the 2007 Beverly D. Archipenko has won a Group 1 race this year, as has Mount Nelson, who hails from the stable of trainer Aidan O'Brien. Spirit One, a French shipper, is the least accomplished of the three Europeans.

Einstein will widely be considered the top U.S.-based horse in the race, and licensing issues concerning the horse were resolved Friday. Einstein has been campaigned for most of his career by the Midnight Cry Stable of William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham, Kentucky attorneys who lost a civil suit alleging that they defrauded clients of money awarded in a lawsuit concerning a diet drug. Because of the legal situation, Einstein raced last month in Kentucky with Patricia Cunningham, Shirley Cunningham's wife, and Melissa Green, Gallion's girlfriend, listed as lessees. In the Million, Einstein will race for Midnight Cry, but with a court-appointed receiver named Matthew Garretson as the stable's representative.

Gio Ponti's status still uncertain

The composition of the Secretariat Stakes depends heavily on the status of Gio Ponti, arguably the top 3-year-old grass horse in the country.

Gio Ponti won the Virginia Derby by a nose, and would go favored in the Secretariat here next weekend, but the Virginia Derby was contested on July 19, and Gio Ponti would be coming back in 20 days while having to ship for the second time from trainer Christophe Clement's base in New York.

"I don't know yet," Clement said Friday morning, asked if Gio Ponti was coming to Arlington. "I will have to decide this weekend. It's a little quick. He had a hard race in the Virginia Derby, and he did show the effects of it. It was very warm and he shipped in the heat."

Clement said Gio Ponti was scheduled to breeze this weekend, and he would then decide whether to ship the horse to Arlington on Wednesday. Gio Ponti has won 4 of 5 career starts, his lone loss coming in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

With Gio Ponti in, the Secretariat could have a field of eight or nine. If he stays home, Tizdejavu should be favored, and the race could attract as many as 10 or 11 entries.

Clement, meanwhile, said Mauralakana, one of the favorites for the Beverly D., is set to ship on Wednesday's New York-to-Chicago flight.

A field of nine, headed by Precious Kitten, Mauralakana, and Dreaming of Anna, is expected for the Beverly D.

Don'twait Toolong shaky favorite

Sunday's feature is race 8, an entry-level allowance carded for one mile on turf that drew a field of 11. Don'twait Toolong landed a much better draw in post 2 than two other main contenders in the race, Jamaludin (post 10) and Stirrup Excitement (post 11), but has a habit of finishing second, even when he turns in a top effort.

Don'twait Toolong has 7 second-place finishes compared with 1 win in 16 career starts. Jamaludin needs pace, and will drop back to make one run, while Stirrup Excitement figures to be sent for position from his wide draw.

The pick is Warn, who is a very on-again, off-again kind of horse, but on his best day seems plenty good enough to beat this group.

Arlington asks for longer meet

Rebuffed last year in its effort to extend its race meet through October, Arlington Park will try again. Applications for 2009 racing dates were filed Thursday with the Illinois Racing Board, and Arlington - as it did in its 2007 application for 2008 dates - requested a meet extending into mid-October. This year's meet ends Sept. 21, and the extra dates Arlington wants historically are the province of Hawthorne Race Course.

In all, Arlington requested 112 days of racing, beginning May 1. Hawthorne applied for 131 racing days, with its 2008 fall-winter meet spilling over into the first two weeks of January, a spring meet running from Feb. 27 to May 3, and fall dates from Sept. 21 to Dec. 31.

The IRB's dates award meeting will be held Sept. 15.

* In an effort to increase field sizes on Million Day, Arlington will pay $500 to the trainer of every horse in undercard races that go with at least 10 starters.