08/21/2003 11:00PM

Week after Million, it's a $50,000 dash

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CHICAGO - In one short week, Arlington Park has gone from a mile and a quarter on the turf to a quarter-mile on the dirt.

The nominal feature here Sunday is the Windy City Dash, a $50,000 stakes for Quarter Horses. And yes, this is a far cry from the Arlington Million, the headliner here a week ago.

This is Arlington's annual foray into the world of Quarter Horse racing, and, as always, the participants have come from all over the country's midsection. The pick this season is a sorrel New Mexico-bred gelding, Indy Bud Bob, who has traveled to Chicago from Ruidoso Downs by way of Prairie Meadows, where he had a timed workout on Aug. 12. Indy Bud Bob has made his last seven starts in New Mexico, and he has won three of them, including a stakes, all at the 400-yard distance of Saturday's race.

Other contenders are Jess Like Magic, So Royally Smashed, and A Toast to Kc, another sorrel gelding. A Toast to Kc has put together a remarkable season, winning 9 of 10 starts while racing at Blue Ribbon, Fair Meadows Tulsa, Delta, and Prairie Meadows. His class may be tested Saturday.

* On the Thoroughbred side, first-level turf allowance horses go in the eighth, and it will be interesting to see how Ya Lajwaad follows up on an impressive maiden win here July 25. Ya Lajwaad, owned by the Darley stable of Sheikh Mohammed and trained by Eoin Harty, disappointed in two dirt races to begin his career, but he sprang to the lead and won when stretched out to a route and switched to turf in his last out.

Star of Atticus sharp in comeback

The talented 3-year-old filly Star of Atticus won her comeback race Thursday at sweltering Arlington Park, beating the filly Noble Place by a length.

Owned by Doris Tomillo and trained by Bobby Barnett, Star of Atticus had been out of action since last fall, when she underwent surgery to remove bone chips from her ankle. After beating the Grade 1 winner Bird Town in a Keeneland maiden race, Star of Atticus was second in the Pocahontas at Churchill.

Thursday's comeback was hard work, but more for jockey Rene Douglas than for Star of Atticus, who outclassed a short field. Star of Atticus can be an anxious filly in the best of times, and making her first start in many months, she was particularly keen.

Barnett said Star of Atticus "got a little worked up" in the paddock, and when the gates sprang open she was on go from the bell. Douglas had his feet on the dashboard as Star of Atticus dragged him to the lead and set a fast pace. She was not going to be caught by this group, but the filly will need to relax more to be effective in higher-class races.

"That may be something we can work on in the morning," said Barnett, who may run Star of Atticus back during the Keeneland meet.

Star of Atticus was Douglas's only Thursday winner, as Carlos Marquez Jr. won three times Thursday. In the featured eighth, the sharp Illinois-bred 3-year-old filly Cashmere Miss took down open company and older mares with a late-running head win over Ft. Mann.