07/04/2004 11:00PM

Toasted and Ballingarry will be back


CHICAGO - Toasted and Ballingarry, winners of Arlington's pair of graded turf stakes over Independence Day weekend, are coming back from California for more on the Aug. 14 International Festival of Racing here. Toasted will run in the Secretariat for 3-year-olds, Ballingarry in the Arlington Million.

Both are likely to go into the Grade 1's fresh. The way trainer Laura de Seroux was thinking Sunday, Toasted will not come back for the American Derby on July 24. That race is linked to Saturday's Arlington Classic and the Secretariat through the Mid-America Triple series, but a sweep of the series carries minimal residual prestige, and no financial benefit. More important for de Seroux is getting Toasted to the Grade 1, $400,000 Secretariat in the best shape possible.

"He's not a big, robust horse," de Seroux said. "He's an easy horse to space out his races."

Ballingarry won the 1 1/2-mile Stars and Stripes on Sunday, and has been considered more a horse for that distance than one for the Million's 1 1/4 miles. But Ballingarry has changed. Once a galloping, on-the-lead type, Ballingarry has suddenly developed a settle-and-finish style. In fact, he dropped so far back last month in the Louisville Handicap that de Seroux added blinkers to focus him, and Ballingarry employed an ideal style to rate and finish under Rene Douglas. Like Toasted, he won easily, and ran in the clear for much of the stretch.

"I think he would have won today at a mile and a quarter, wouldn't he?" de Seroux said Sunday, asked about Ballingarry turning back in distance. "He showed enough tactical speed today that a mile and one-quarter should be fine."

As she walked to the winner's circle Sunday after Ballingarry's victory, de Seroux pumped her fist and mouthed the word, "Yes." It seemed like an emotional display from a typically reserved woman. And it came with merit.

Going into the weekend, de Seroux, who was loaded with stock last season, had won four races from 68 starters in 2004, and Toasted had scored her stable's only stakes victory in the listed La Puente.

"I don't have a lot of meat-and-potatoes horses," de Seroux said. "At the end of last year, all of the good horses got hurt. I had second-stringers. Now, things are starting to turn around because our best horses are just coming around."

Arlington invaders score twice

Prairie Meadows looked like Arlington Park West on Sunday, with Arlington-based horses winning impressively in two stakes. Summer Mis, the Illinois-bred champion, won the $100,000 Saylorville Stakes by a half-length; 50 minutes later, Coach Jimi Lee upset the crack sprinter Cat Genius in the Iowa Sprint Handicap.

"Summer went in 1:08 and I was pretty proud of myself," said Summer Mis's trainer, Tony Mitchell. "Then Coach Jimi Lee went out and ran 1:07."

Coach Jimi Lee's exact time was 1:07.85, the fastest six furlongs ever run at Prairie Meadows. Old hat for Coach Jimi Lee, who set a six-furlong track record last winter at Hawthorne, running the fastest six furlongs ever officially timed in Illinois.

"I don't know that much about that track, but the horse is awesome," said trainer Jim DiVito.

Cat Genius was coming off an excellent second to Speightstown in the Grade 2 True North Handicap, and was clear on the lead before Coach Jimi Lee ran him down.

"He came on awful strong," DiVito said. "I don't know if it was the best race he's ever run, but it was one of the best."

Both horses returned to Arlington in good physical condition, but neither has set plans, and there are no specific targets for them at the Arlington meet.

"We wait a couple weeks and let her tell us when to run," Mitchell said of Summer Mis.

Tote board partially fixed after fire

Arlington's tote board, damaged in an electrical fire last month, was mainly operational on Sunday, and could be fully functional by Thursday, according to Tony Patrillo, the track's facilities director.

Overheated electric-wire insulation caused the fire, Patrillo said.

"The insulation overheated, melted, and the roof around it is all wood," he said.

No work was being done on the board Monday, as necessary replacement parts were being shipped to the track. The timer was still not functional, nor was the section of board displaying show-pool information. Patrillo said those functions probably would be restored later this week.

Icanhaul leads confusing feature

Arlington's Wednesday card offers a mixed bag; a true feature, however, is not in the mix. The top allowance race of the day is an incomprehensible entry-level allowance for females, but there are betting opportunities in contentious turf races, and split divisions of a 2-year-old filly maiden race.

The nominal feature is the eighth, which is for older fillies and mares at six furlongs. It is getting to be the time of year when the older first-level allowance population consists of very late-starting horses; horses who have struggled to win their second race; and claiming horses, whose trainers see an opportunity to jump into a soft allowance spot.

In fact, the likely favorite in this race is Icanhaul, who finished second in a $30,000 nonwinners-of-two claimer the last time she ran. Her recent finishes and the presence of leading rider Rene Douglas should attract betting support, but that does not make Icanhaul a more likely winner than several others.

Modern Marvel has started for lower claiming prices than Icanhaul, but she has beaten open claimers twice in the last few months. Halo Cinderella, one of the lightly raced horses, has speed, and carried it to a second-place finish in a Mountaineer allowance sprint June 14. Youmademeloveyou won the only start of her career.

* Arlington had a good Fourth of July, with paid attendance recorded at 20,022. A total of $1,003,485 was bet ontrack.