08/08/2007 11:00PM

The Tin Man a single in Arlington's pick three


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - There is no shortage of top racing across the country Saturday, with Saratoga staging the Grade 1 Sword Dancer, Del Mar hosting the Grade 2 La Jolla, and Calder offering four stakes with $700,000 in purse money up for grabs.

As fine as those races are, the eye of most horseplayers will deservingly be focused on Arlington Saturday for the running of the Arlington Million, Beverly D., and Secretariat Stakes. All three races offer international fields, and tough tests for horses and handicappers alike.

Here is a look at the three Grade 1 races at Arlington Saturday, and how I plan to play the pick three wager linking the stakes trio.

Secretariat Stakes

Red Giant (No. 5), a relative no-name a month ago, is the 5-2 morning-line choice for the Secretariat after winning the Grade 2 Virginia Derby at odds of 37-1 July 21. The issue is whether he can duplicate that effort.

That race was the undoubtedly the best of his career, one that sets him up for a potential bounce, particularly racing on just three weeks' rest. And if he is unable to run back to the 99 Beyer Speed Figure he earned in that race, the Secretariat appears up for grabs.

I'll use Red Giant - out of respect for the determination he showed to outnod a game Strike a Deal in the Virginia Derby - but I'll also throw a few others on my pick three tickets, hoping to catch a winner at a better price.

Admiralofthefleet (2), a Group 2 winner overseas for trainer Aidan O'Brien, is an obvious contender, coming off a fifth-place finish in a field that included older horses in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes July 7. A horse that runs well on good to firm ground, he gives the impression he should adapt well to American racing.

I'll also try two others on my pick three ticket, taking American Derby winner Lattice (4), who might get a bit overlooked despite his 3-for-5 turf record, and 20-1 outsider Love Dubai (6), who has largely underachieved in four U.S. starts but who starts for the dangerous longshot barn of trainer Mike Maker.

The Beverly D.

Irridescence (3), a multiple Group 1 winner, comes off her best performance in over a year - a runner-up finish in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket July 11. Racing in a top-class field, she performed well to lose by a length to Simply Perfect, who led throughout in a paceless race.

With Jennie R. and Citronnade adding speed to the Beverly D., a more honest pace should unfold. And my feeling is that Irridescence will prove a major factor from a stalking position.

A proven shipper, she won the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong in April of last year, defeating Ouija Board.

I'll also include Lady of Venice (4) on my tickets. She is perfect in three starts this year and comes off a victory against some of the West Coast's best turf females in the Cash Call Mile July 6.

Arlington Million

Although The Tin Man (5) lost his last start when racing in the American Invitational Handicap at Hollywood Park, he lost little in defeat. Spotting the winner Out of Control 10 pounds under the handicap conditions of the race, he battled gamely to lose by a head.

Out of Control then came back to prove his worth with a runner-up finish behind After Market in the Grade 1 Eddie Read.

Making his third start of the year in the Arlington Million, defending champion The Tin Man should be a bit stronger than he was in the American Invitational, and for that reason I'm willing to take a shot and single him in the pick three.

With Sunriver seemingly the only other speed horse, The Tin Man should get a great trip either setting or pressing a moderate pace, and as he has proved through the years, The Tin Man is a horse of obvious quality. A 9-year-old, he has won 13 of 29 starts and over $3.4 million.

Admittedly, he is facing some tough opposition - classy American horses such as After Market and Sunriver and talented Europeans such as Doctor Dino and Danak - but my inclination is to take a stand and single him. Hopefully, I can catch a price in either the Secretariat or Beverly D.

Using the horses outlined above - 2,4,5,6 in the Secretariat, 3,4 in the Beverly D., and 5 in Arlington Million - results in a small $8 ticket for a $1 bet.