10/08/2004 11:00PM

Artie Schiller takes aim at BC Mile


ELMONT, N.Y. - Kitten's Joy won't be the only 3-year-old North American turf horse attempting to win a Breeders' Cup race later this month.

Artie Schiller, whose only loss in his last six starts came to Kitten's Joy, was confirmed as a starter for the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Saturday.

Earlier this fall, Jerkens said Artie Schiller's major objective for the fall would be the $500,000 Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park on Nov. 28. But the way Artie Schiller won the Jamaica here on Sept. 26, combined with how dominant Kitten's Joy was winning the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, prompted Jerkens and his owners, Timber Bay Farm and Thomas and Denise Walsh, to take a shot.

Jerkens said he chose the Mile over the $2 million Turf because Artie Schiller has yet to race beyond 10 furlongs, and because Kitten's Joy will be in the Turf and not the Mile.

"That probably helped our decision a little bit not to run there,'' Jerkens said. "Backing up is a little bit tough, too, especially with the sharp turns and stuff. I think he won't have to train as hard, and we'll keep him light on his feet and hopefully we can get him back and make one run.''

In addition to the Jamaica, Artie Schiller has won the Hall of Fame Stakes, Hill Prince, and Woodlawn. His only loss on turf this year came to Kitten's Joy in the Virginia Derby at 10 furlongs.

Jerkens confirmed that Richard Migliore would retain the mount for the Breeders' Cup Mile. Migliore has ridden Artie Schiller in all but two of his starts and is as high on Artie Schiller as any horse he has ever ridden.

Migliore noted that the only time Artie Schiller ran a mile, he overcame a brutal start to rally from last to win an entry-level allowance race by 1 1/4 lengths over Timo. He ran the mile in 1:34.10 that day.

"Obviously, it's going to be a full field with the best horses in the world,'' Migliore said. "You're going to need some racing luck and the right kind of trip but with his turn of foot I think he belongs.''

Birdstone works slowly toward Classic

Birdstone, the Belmont and Travers winner, worked six furlongs in a modest 1:18.08 Saturday morning at Saratoga as he continues preparations for the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic. It was his third work since winning the Travers on Aug. 28.

Trainer Nick Zito said he purposely didn't want a strenuous work for Birdstone, with three weeks remaining to the Classic.

"He's got two more works,'' Zito said. "I don't want him to peak too soon. We still got three more weeks. I'm training him the same exact way I trained him for the Travers.''

Birdstone's third work after winning the Belmont was a six-furlong move in 1:16.84, the slowest of his works prior to his victory in the Travers. Birdstone had another modest move two weeks out from the Travers before working a super six furlongs in 1:13.96 the week before the race.

Spotlight to Calder Oaks

Spotlight would most likely have been the favorite had trainer Christophe Clement entered her in Monday's $100,000 Pebbles Stakes for 3-year-old turf fillies. Instead, Clement will point her to the $200,000 Calder Oaks on Oct. 23.

Spotlight won the Grade 2 Lake Placid Handicap by 3 1/2 lengths on Aug. 23 at Saratoga. She came back to run second behind the talented Ticker Tape in the Grade 3 Pucker Up at Arlington Park on Sept. 18. Clement said he skipped the Pebbles primarily to give his filly more time between races.

"It is just a little bit quick back,'' said Clement, who added that he will have Jerry Bailey to ride.

Clement also outlined plans for a couple of his other stakes fillies. Snowdrops, who had a four-race winning streak snapped when second in a division of the De la Rose Stakes, will be aimed to the $100,000 Athenia at Aqueduct on Oct. 31. Where We Left Off, who won the Grade 3 Matchmaker, will point to the Violet Handicap at The Meadowlands on Oct. 22. Dedication, last in the Noble Damsel last out, may take on the boys again in the $250,000 Nearctic Handicap at Woodbine on Oct. 24.

Clement said he likes the six furlongs of that race for Dedication, who finished second against males in the seven-furlong Jaipur Handicap here in May.