New York could enter Race to the Top’s bell lap tomorrow — and then one step closer to winning $700 million toward overhauling to the state’s education system.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will announce second-round finalists tomorrow during a speech in Washington, where he is set to discuss what he is characterizing as the “quiet revolution” of education reform.

New York State surprised many observers by being named a finalist in the first round of awards even though, at the time, the state legislature had not yet lifted the cap on charter schools or passed legislation overhauling the way teachers are evaluated. In the final first-round scoring, New York placed 15th out of 16 finalists.

But in part because of those legislative changes, some observers are predicting that the state’s chances of winning, or at least being named a finalist, are better this round.

New York’s chances could also be boosted through pure statistics. Only Delaware and Tennessee won in the contest’s first round, leaving most of the pot —  $3.4 billion — left to award. Duncan has said that there are likely to be 10 to 15 second-round winners, out of a total of 36 states applying.

You can read New York’s full, second-round Race to the Top application here, and more about what it proposes can be found here and here.