09/26/2006 11:00PM

Aragorn, winner of three in a row, hopes to continue his momentum


The three-race winning streak that has propelled Aragorn to the top of the American turf mile division has left trainer Neil Drysdale enthused about the autumn.

And what a time to have a colt in peak form. Over the next six weeks, Aragorn will start in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 7, then face many of the world's best milers in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

Even though the Breeders' Cup Mile is expected to feature the exciting European 3-year-old George Washington and possibly the outstanding 4-year-old filly Gorella, Drysdale is confident that the 4-year-old Aragorn can continue his success this fall.

"I'm not sure how much he has to improve," Drysdale said. "I think he's improved with each race."

Wins in the Oak Tree Mile and the Breeders' Cup Mile would greatly enhance Aragorn's chances of winning the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding turf male.

Aragorn's winning streak began in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park in May and continued at Del Mar in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf in July and the Grade 2 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap at a mile in August. He is owned by his breeders, Ballygallon Stud.

George Washington, trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien, is considered the biggest threat to Aragorn. George Washington won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Sept. 23, ending a two-race losing streak. He won the English 2000 Guineas in May.

George Washington will be part of a European raiding team that may include Araafa, the runner-up in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and possibly Ad Valorem, who finished third in the Woodbine Mile in Canada on Sept. 17.

The next two weekends will solidify the list of domestic starters for the BC Mile. The leading Mile prep this weekend is Saturday's $250,000 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park.

Ashkal Way, the winner of the Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 26, starts in the Kelso. He is owned by the Maktoum family's Godolphin Racing.

Proclamation, one of Godolphin's leading turf milers, emerged lame from a sixth-place finish in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. His stablemate Librettist, fifth in the QEII, has improved after first appearing lame and is on track for the Mile, according to Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.

There are two major preps on Oct. 7 - the Oak Tree BC Mile and the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland. Miesque's Approval, the winner of three consecutive stakes, will start in the Shadwell Mile against Woodbine Mile winner Becrux.

Gorella is being pointed for the $400,000 First Lady Stakes at a mile on turf at Keeneland on Oct. 14, trainer Patrick Biancone said. He said it was "too early" to tell whether Gorella would run in the BC Mile or the BC Filly and Mare Turf at 1 3/8 miles.