08/13/2006 11:00PM

Two on a collision course


CHICAGO - Since pace does make the race, which race on Saturday at Arlington Park was more impressive: the Secretariat, in which Showing Up set a fast pace and turned in a final time of 2:00.09 for 1 1/4 miles on turf, or the Million, where The Tin Man set a dawdling early pace but blasted home his final quarter-mile in 22.71 seconds for a final 1 1/4-mile time of 2:01.35?

On the Beyer Speed Figure scale, the performances were judged similar: Showing Up was given a 107, one of the fastest turf figures in the country this year, while The Tin Man received a 105.

The meaningfulness of speed figures, especially in turf races, is debatable, but more importantly, both Showing Up and The Tin Man came out of their Grade 1 turf victories in good physical condition, their trainers said.

Showing Up has returned to Barclay Tagg's barn at Saratoga, while The Tin Man is back in California with trainer Dick Mandella. All the other visiting participants in the International Festival of Racing have left town, too, with the last of the European horses departing Monday morning. Europeans failed to win anything this year, and

finished last in the Beverly D. and the Million, but Soldier Hollow was a solid third in the Million, and Ivan Denisovich second in the Secretariat.

Showing Up's time was the second-fastest 1 1/4-mile Secretariat on the books, and Showing Up won by 1 1/2 lengths despite racing a half-mile in 47.83 seconds and three-

quarters in 1:11.19, sizzling for the distance, especially with the inner rail set up far out into Arlington's course.

"When I saw that 47-and-change half-mile, I thought he was dead," said Tagg, who said he was "awestruck" by Showing Up's race.

Showing Up now has won 5 of 6 starts for earnings of more than $1 million, and has proved if nothing else that he is an exceptional 3-year-old. His next race, however, should help determine where Showing Up fits into the national turf picture as a whole. Tagg plans to test Showing Up against older horses, but whether it is in the Man o' War on Sept. 9 at Belmont, the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic there on Oct. 7, or some other spot remains to be determined.

"We'll take four or five days off, then get back in the routine," Tagg said.

If things go well for both horses, Showing Up and The Tin Man could cross paths in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. That race will be considered for The Tin Man, trainer Richard Mandella said, if the horse does well in the Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship on Sept. 30 at the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita. The Tin Man won that race in 2002, his only Grade 1 victory before Saturday, and "came back great" from the Million, Mandella said.

"It looked like he could have run again the next day," said Mandella.

At age 8, The Tin Man became the second-oldest Million winner behind John Henry, and Mandella, in a postrace press conference, was not treating this year as the gelding's swan song.

"Just wait until he's 10," Mandella said.

Biancone basks in Gorella's win

Nearly 48 hours after Gorella put in her sensational run to win the Beverly D., trainer Patrick Biancone was back at Saratoga on Monday morning, enjoying the unassailable position the French-bred filly now enjoys atop the filly-mare turf division.

"She has run huge all year," said Biancone. "Put it this way: We have turned her from a good loser into a good winner."

Gorella first began getting national attention when she came flying late to finish a close third against males in the Breeders' Cup Mile last fall. She has lost just once in four starts since returning to action this year, with the only defeat coming when she ran what Biancone called an "unlucky" fifth behind English Channel and other males in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in early May.

In the Beverly D., Gorella won for the first time beyond 1 1/8 miles, showing a sustained kick.

"She showed a couple of things that are different," Biancone said. "Number one, she had no problem with the trip, which was an unknown, and number two, now she doesn't need to be covered up as long. She has a longer kick than before. Before she only had a furlong kick. Now she seems to have a two-furlong kick, but she showed that in the Just a Game already.''

Gorella won the Just a Game by a neck over Pommes Frites in her previous start on June 10.

Biancone said Gorella, whose 1 3/4-length win in the Beverly D. gave apprentice jockey Julien Leparoux the first Grade 1 victory of his rapidly ascending career, will run three more times this year: the First Lady (formerly the Galaxy) against fillies on Oct. 14 at Keeneland, followed by the Breeders' Cup on Nov. 4 and the Matriarch at Hollywood in late November.

"The Breeders' Cup, this is a question I do not know," Biancone said, adding that Gorella will run in either the Mile or the Filly and Mare Turf, but not the Turf.

Biancone said owner Martin Schwartz plans to campaign Gorella next year as a 5-year-old.

Total handle on card down 26 percent

Attendance was up slightly on Arlington Million Day, but handle dipped significantly from last year's record. Total handle bet on the card came to $15,500,063, a drop of 26 percent from the record total of $20,987,021 wagered last year.

A total of 29,979 attended on Saturday, compared with 28,312 last year. They wagered $3,187,911, fractionally off last year's ontrack handle of $3,206,659.

Track fails to make guarantee

Arlington seemed particularly bold last Saturday, guaranteeing a $1 million pool for the trifecta on the Arlington Million.

That guarantee came up just a trifle short when $994,396 was bet into the pool, meaning the track had to contribute $5,604 to make up the shortage.

The winning combination of 2-10-5 returned $619.20 for $2.

- additional reporting by David Grening and Marty McGee