08/29/2002 12:00AM

'Zealous' to try Kentucky Cup Classic


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - There's Zealous will try to stretch his speed around two turns in the $400,000 Kentucky Cup Classic on Sept. 14 at Turfway Park, trainer Paul McGee said Thursday.

There's Zealous has emerged in the last month as one of the most exciting horses in the Midwest. A powerful winner of a high-quality Churchill allowance race in late July, There's Zealous was even more impressive in the $60,000 Cigar Handicap here Aug. 17, Arlington Million Day.

Setting an intense six-furlong pace while racing in hand, There's Zealous exploded through the stretch to win by six lengths while ridden out by jockey Kent Desormeaux. His time of 1:33.60 eclipsed Bonapaw's 1:34 in the Hanshin Cup as the fastest one-mile time this meet.

What remains now is for There's Zealous to show he can race at the same level around two turns. "I hope he can," McGee said. "One and one-eighth miles would be my big concern with him. Turfway can be a speed-favoring track, and I'm envisioning him being on the lead at the half-mile pole and hanging on."

McGee said There's Zealous elevated his game when he started racing with blinkers two starts ago. "The blinkers have been a big factor," he said. "I don't think he's a flash in the pan or anything. He's been kind of a nice horse all along, but he's hooked some good horses."

Meanwhile, the next step in Honor in War's comeback was foiled when the colt was excluded from a Saturday allowance, forcing McGee to find another race for Honor in War. Honor in War was one of two horses left out of a third-level allowance race because of a preference system based on the date of a horse's last race.

"I really don't know where I'll run him now," said McGee, who added that a "money-since" turf allowance scheduled for Thursday's card was an unlikely spot.

Honor in War, an easy comeback winner of a second-level allowance here earlier this month, showed top-shelf ability at age 2 but chipped his knee during a Gulfstream stakes race last winter.

"He was turned out for about four months," McGee said. "The surgeon said the horse was immature and time could be beneficial, so we heeded his advice."

Quality card, large fields

The turf allowance that Honor in War will miss is part of one of the better overall cards here this meet. With a stakes, three allowance races, and a straight maiden race, the card has plenty of quality, and with 109 horses entered in 10 races there should be no shortage of betting options Saturday.

The horse to watch in the third-level turf allowance is the rags-to-riches colt Summerzene. Claimed out of a low-level maiden race last year, Summerzene has won three times for the small stable of Humberto Gracia, and three weeks ago, while racing out of his conditions, Summerzene won a turf race at this class level.

The ninth features Monarchoftheglen, who makes his second start after a long layoff for trainer Niall O'Callaghan. Monarchoftheglen was used up in a speed duel in his comeback race and should move forward Saturday.

Lakenheath looking tough for Matron

Lakenheath showed her fondness for the Arlington Park surface with a sharp breeze here Thursday, and she should be a formidable target for the East Coast shippers expected for Monday's Grade 3 Arlington Matron.

Lakenheath breezes faster at Arlington than she does anywhere else, and Thursday's work, a half-mile in a snappy 47.60 seconds, was a typical move for her here this summer.

Lakenheath crushed an allowance field here last month and most recently finished second in the Grade 3 Gardenia Stakes at Ellis Park. "She kind of defeated herself that day," trainer Gene Cilio said.

"She's as good as she's ever been," Cilio said. "She's back on her home track, and it will take a really good effort for somebody to beat her."

The East Coast-based pair of Your Out and With Ability top the list of likely Matron starters. Curious Conundrum, Extend, Miss Pickums, and Softly also are expected.