05/18/2005 12:00AM

Artie Schiller adds to Preakness Day luster


BALTIMORE - Trainer Jimmy Jerkens is hoping to run Artie Schiller in the Breeders' Cup this fall at Belmont Park. Whether he points to the $1 million Mile or the $2 million Turf could be decided this weekend at Pimlico.

Jerkens has entered Artie Schiller in the $200,000 CompUSA Dixie Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race in which he will face defending Breeders' Cup Turf winner Better Talk Now and four others. The Dixie, at 1 1/8 miles, is one of six stakes scheduled to be run on the Preakness undercard.

Seven stakes were initially scheduled, but the Grade 3, $100,000 Hirsch Jacobs for 3-year-old sprinter was not carded after drawing only three entries. First post Saturday is 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

Artie Schiller, who finished 12th as the favorite in the Breeders' Cup Mile, made an auspicious 4-year-old debut in winning the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland. For that effort, he will carry 124 pounds, spotting Better Talk Now four pounds and the rest of the field six pounds.

Jerkens thinks that if Artie Schiller runs well here, he may consider trying him at longer distances later in the year. If he doesn't fare well, Jerkens will likely keep him in mile races.

"This will probably be his toughest race to date," he said. "This race will be the deciding point in mapping out the rest of his campaign."

Better Talk Now, who upset the BC Turf last year, won his 2005 debut by a neck in the Fort Marcy Handicap at Aqueduct. Grand Reward, last year's Hollywood Derby winner, is another Dixie contender. He is trained by Shug McGaughey.

Graham Motion, the trainer of Better Talk Now, will send out Film Maker for her seasonal debut in the Gallorette Handicap. Film Maker will meet eight fillies and mares in the Grade 3, $100,000 race at 1 1/16 miles. Changing World, Path of Thunder, Briviesca, and Dynamia are the main rivals in a wide-open race.

Jerkens will send out the improving Reel Legend off back-to-back wins in the $100,000 Sir Barton for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. Sunshine Stalker and Pinpoint, who have also won their last two starts, and Killenaule, a stakes winner at 2, are the other top contenders.

Gators N Bears will be favored to record his second straight victory in the $100,000 Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap at six furlongs. He faces seven rivals, including Toboggan winner Primary Suspect and the stakes-winning Take Achance on Me.

Wallstreet Scandal and English Channel head the field of 10 entered in the $100,000 Woodlawn Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.

A race before the Preakness, trainer Nick Zito will send out last year's Sir Barton winner, Royal Assault, in the $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Handicap. He will face Alumni Hall, winner of the Ben Ali Handicap in his last start. Zakocity and Contante are also contenders in the Grade 3 race.