08/07/2004 12:00AM

Artie Schiller acting happier at home

Artie Schiller, winning the Woodlawn, is the horse to beat in Monday's Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - No one would have blamed trainer Jimmy Jerkens had he shipped Artie Schiller to Chicago for next weekend's Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes and a rematch with Kitten's Joy, who beat Artie Schiller in the Virginia Derby.

But the allure of staying home, a turn back in distance, and the absence of Kitten's Joy made Monday's Grade 2, $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga a more attractive spot.

, a multiple stakes winner this year, will be the one to beat among the 10 3-year-olds entered in the Hall of Fame Stakes, run at nine furlongs over Saratoga's main turf course.

Artie Schiller, a son of El Prado, has five wins and two seconds from seven turf starts. Two starts back he won the Grade 3 Hill Prince at Belmont at this distance, toying with a talented field that included the graded winner Timo.

Sent off the even-money favorite in the Grade 3 Virginia Derby at 10 furlongs, Artie Schiller was no match for Kitten's Joy, who is now 6 for 7 on turf. Jerkens and jockey Richard Migliore believe that Artie Schiller was a bit dull that day, perhaps from the ship.

Jerkens said Artie Schiller has been acting friskier than he was before the Virginia Derby. Migliore worked Artie Schiller last week and loved what he felt underneath him.

"He really worked well the other day," Migliore said. "He was very happy cruising around there - he gave me a greet feeling." Migliore will ride the 122-pound highweight from post 8.

Unhappy with the Del Mar turf course, trainer Eoin Harty has shipped Street Theatre here from California. Street Theatre is coming off a second-place finish behind Toasted in the Grade 2 Arlington Classic in his last start. Jerry Bailey, who has won seven of the first 20 runnings of this race, rides.

"The race at Arlington was a good race," Harty said. "It was soft turf, and he was left a little too much to do and he was caught wide. But he finished strong, which was more important than anything else."

all cut back a furlong from their one-two-three finishes in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Belmont. Trainer Todd Pletcher said he would like to see Icy Atlantic stalk the pace if possible.

Mustanfar may be more effective at longer distances, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. Breaking from the hedge in the Lexington, Second Performance may have been forced to go, and could rate from post 9 here. Preachinatthebar, Dealer Choice, Broadway View, and Kennel Up complete the field.