10/16/2003 11:00PM

Artie Schiller steps up into stakes company

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ELMONT, N.Y. - With a record of 2 for 2 on the grass, Artie Schiller takes his game to the next level in Sunday's $75,000 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park.

Artie Schiller meets eight other 2-year-old males in the 1 1/8-mile Pilgrim, which will be run on the inner turf course.

Artie Schiller, a son of El Prado out of a Majestic Light mare, made his first start on July 16 at Belmont in a six-furlong turf race, which he won by a neck after coming with a monstrous late charge. In his next start, Artie Schiller finished a creditable third in a dirt sprint here on Sept. 7. Ten days later, he came from off the pace to win a first-level allowance race at a mile on the turf after a rough start.

"I like him a lot," said Jimmy Jerkens, Artie Schiller's trainer. "He always worked well, even on the dirt, and especially in company. I think he will be a lot closer early than he was in his other turf races when he closed into a fast pace. I can't see any jock wing-dinging it on the front end going a mile and an eighth."

Mike Luzzi has picked up the mount on Artie Schiller because the colt's regular pilot, Richard Migliore, will be riding in Canada on Sunday.

Artie Schiller drew post 4.

Timo, another son of El Prado, finished second to Artie Schiller in his last start, on Sept. 17. It was Timo's first race in nearly nine weeks and his first since winning a six-furlong maiden race on the grass by 2 1/4 lengths on July 19.

"I wasn't disappointed at all in his last race, because I thought he could have been short," said Bill Badgett, Timo's trainer. "He got sick at Saratoga and then bruised a foot. I lost a lot of time with him. He is really doing well, and I think [he will make] a good transition from 2 to 3. I also think two turns will help him."

John Velazquez rides Timo, a stalker, who drew post 9.

Another strong contender is Cool Conductor, who was very impressive when he won his maiden on the turf here on Sept. 10. Cool Conductor came from way off the pace and sustained a bumping incident at the quarter pole to win the mile race by 3 3/4 lengths.

Pa Pa Da was entered in Saturday's Sleepy Hollow. Milestone Victory, Tynan, and Unbuckle, and maidens Cartage Agent and Kennel Up, complete the field.