08/15/2006 12:00AM

Usual bunch lacks standout


CHICAGO - The passing of Arlington Million Day marks the end of Arlington's Summer Festival of Racing and its modestly increased purse structure. Now comes Arlington's final segment, and though Kentucky horses that weren't sent to Saratoga still will start here, this meet eases back into a Chicago-circuit affair as it winds down.

The Thursday feature at Arlington, a third-level six-furlong allowance also open to $50,000 claimers, befits the transformation. Followers of Chicago racing know these horses as well as the horses know each other. The names Ghostly Gal, Teller Line, Aroarable, Piano Tunner, Fighting Fever, and Sparkling Sabia all appear in one another's company lines, the listing of the top finishers in past performances. Only Shari's Gold Sole, who has been running on the East Coast, does not sport at least one member of the competition among her last 12 running lines.

There were two races similar to this one last month. The one on July 7 was at six furlongs, the one on July 19 at 7 1/2 furlongs. There was a slightly higher-class race going short on turf July 27, and a race at the next class level up, but still open to claimers, on Aug. 3. Five of the seven in the Thursday feature come out of one of these races. Shari's Gold Sole is working on a string of three straight fourth-place finishes at Belmont and Delaware. And Teller Line hasn't raced since finishing last in a July 1 stakes race at Prairie Meadows.

Teller Line, however, is a force to be reckoned with when she's right. She won comfortably at this class level here May 5 (only to be subsequently disqualified for a medication positive), and won twice around this time last summer. If a freshening has brought Teller Line back to life, she will race on or near the lead and stick around to the end.

But an inside draw could put Teller Line under the gun from Fighting Fever. Fighting Fever hasn't won since April 2005, but did show signs of life when she finished fourth in that July 7 six-furlong race, and she has back class on which to draw.

Piano Tunner is far from spectacular, but this race does not demand brilliance. In 21 of 30 starts, Piano Tunner has finished third or better, and she won by a neck at this class level June 14. The 7 1/2 furlongs of the July 19 race might have been slightly farther than her best distance, but Piano Tunner still finished third. Her trainer, Hugh Robertson, also entered Sparkling Sabia, and - perfect for this race - it is not obvious on paper which one of the stable-mates is better suited to Thursday's spot.