07/29/2005 11:00PM

Artie Schiller at his best distance


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A mile and a quarter was probably too much for Artie Schiller, but 1 1/8 miles is right up his alley, and that is the distance he will get on Monday in the $150,000 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga.

is the horse to beat in the eight-horse field of turf runners. Among his opponents in the Grade 2 are last year's winner, Silver Tree, and the 2002 winner, Del Mar Show.

Artie Schiller, who has a tremendous finishing kick, was third in the 1 1/4-mile Manhattan Handicap at Belmont in his last start. He was beaten a half-length by the winner, Good Reward.

"He wasn't there the last sixteenth," said trainer Jimmy Jerkens. "He had dead aim, and I didn't see any excuse. He is awfully good and probably just right at a mile and an eighth."

Richard Migliore, who has ridden Artie Schiller in the majority of his starts, will be reunited with Artie Schiller for the first time since last year's Breeders' Cup Mile. Artie Schiller drew post 3 and carries 122 pounds as the highweight.

Silver Tree, whose last victory came in the 2004 Bernard Baruch, is making his second start off a layoff. In his first race of the year, he finished last in the King Edward Breeders' Cup in a five-horse field at Woodbine.

Bill Mott, Silver Tree's trainer, said he wished that jockey Jose Santos had taken the early lead in that paceless race, rather than rating the horse.

"I couldn't judge the effort," Mott said. "He was stuck inside a slow pace."

Jerry Bailey rides Silver Tree from post 7. Since 1998, Mott and Bailey have paired to win five Bernard Baruchs.

America Alive, who won the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill in May for trainer Neil Howard, makes his first start at Saratoga. In his last race, America Alive finished third behind Kitten's Joy in the Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap at a mile.

"I think a mile and a sixteenth to a mile and an eighth are his best distances," Howard said.

, a New York-bred, is 3 for 4 at Saratoga and is a potential upsetter.

Del Mar Show, now 8 and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, doesn't have the same form he did when he won the Bernard Baruch for Mott three years ago.

Willard Straight was cross-entered in an optional claimer on Sunday, a race where he likely would be the favorite. Seeking Answers and Not Phone complete the field.