10/07/2001 11:00PM

Tomillo tries to extend hot streak with Dellionaire in feature


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - If you haven't already, it's time to start taking trainer Tom Tomillo seriously at Arlington. Tomillo, who typically has front-loaded his Chicago success at the beginning of the racing season here, is having a strong Arlington meet for the second year in a row. Through mid-card Monday, Tomillo ranked third in the trainer standings here with 24 wins, just 10 behind leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Part of Tomillo's success has come from pure volume: With 215 starters, he has run more than any trainer at the meet, and he often enters several claiming horses on a single card. But Tomillo's stock has been especially live in the last six weeks or so, when he's been winning races at a much higher clip than his yearly percentage.

On Wednesday, Dellionaire, part of the Tomillo resurgence, is the horse to beat in Arlington's eighth-race feature, a second-level sprint allowance. Dellionaire, claimed for $20,000 at Fair Grounds last winter, set a track record when he finished first in a race at Sportsman's Park, though he was disqualified from the runaway win.

It took seven weeks for Dellionaire to race again, but he has been sharp over the last 2 1/2 months, running very well in three of four starts.

The only thing lacking in those performances, including narrow losses in his last two starts at this class level, has been a win.

"He's a pretty decent horse," Tomillo said. "He's got some problems, but he runs through them. He's a hard-trying horse."

Tomillo said he hasn't changed anything in his operation during his late-meet hot streak here. My owners "have been spending a little better on horses," he said. "I guess everything runs in streaks in this business. Like you get in that zone and everything seems to do good."

Dellionaire's chances in his race Wednesday will get a boost if the two speed horses entered, Ellie's Choice and Getyourbritchesandgo, hook up in a pace duel. Given their running lines - both have been in front at the pace call in their last three starts - that seems inevitable.

Stalkers Brocco Bry and the poorly drawn Sneek a Flight also have a chance if the speed comes back to the field.

Cilio fillies run big

Trainer Gene Cilio said he has no specific plans for his pair of 3-year-old stakes fillies, Scoop and Lakenheath, both of whom turned in big efforts over the weekend. Scoop won the Indiana Oaks on Friday night, and Lakenheath came back the following afternoon to finish a close third against older horses in the Arlington Matron.

"I don't know. They've both won a graded stakes this year, so maybe I'll just take them down to Fair Grounds and freshen them up," Cilio said.

Cilio said that Scoop had come out of her romp at Hoosier Park in good shape, but that there weren't any suitable races for her in Chicago the rest of this season. As for Lakenheath, who finished strongly to just miss second in the Matron, Cilio said he would try to race her at distances of 1 1/8 miles and beyond.

* The 92-year-old trainer Jim Eckrosh won his first race of the Arlington meet when Magic Doe captured a five-furlong allowance race here Friday.