05/07/2007 11:00PM

Victory Design heavy favorite for Biancone


CHICAGO - Patrick Biancone was an early, ardent supporter of Polytrack in the U.S., going so far as to keep a string of high-class horses at decidedly unglamorous Turfway Park before the synthetic-racetrack revolution began spreading across the country. Now that Keeneland - with Polytrack on its main track and a training track - will remain open for training through the summer, Biancone will base a major string there, which means greater participation during the Arlington Park meet.

"Chicago is part of our plans," Biancone said. "We will come as much as we can."

Biancone's horse for Thursday's featured ninth race at Arlington is Victory Design, a probable strong favorite in a second-level turf allowance race.

Victory Design is one of 10 horses in the body of the race, which was carded for a mile on turf, with the inner rail scheduled to be set up six feet outside lane 3 on the course. An 11th horse, Win Me Over, is entered only for Polytrack. Arlington was able to keep all its grass races on turf over the meet's first three days.

Victory Design, Irish-bred and English-raced early in his career, was away from the races more than a year, and was imported to the U.S. and turned over to Biancone when he made it back. After finishing second on Turfway's Polytrack in his comeback, he beat entry-level allowance foes on the Keeneland turf course. Biancone next tried the Grade 3 River City Handicap a day before the Breeders' Cup last fall at Churchill, but Victory Design mustered only an even fourth. His season concluded on a sour note, an 11th-place finish in a Churchill allowance, but Victory Design was back in form April 15 at Keeneland, closing with a rush to finish second to a nice grass horse named I Believe in Me.

"He ran a good race first time back," said Biancone. "We'll try to win a race there and see how he handles the track."

Victory Design might need only to hold his Keeneland form to win for the third time in 11 starts. Daggernought looked good winning an entry-level turf allowance in his most recent race, but that was about a year ago at Bay Meadows. Majestic Zeal nearly upset Fort Prado in an Illinois-bred turf stakes last June at Arlington, but followed with four poor performances, and hasn't been out since Oct. 25.o