10/11/2004 11:00PM

Bago out of Classic, Saint Liam unlikely


The Breeders' Cup Classic lost some of its star quality on Tuesday when the Niarchos family decided not to send Bago, winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, to Lone Star Park.

"We have decided to bypass the Breeders' Cup Classic as Bago will be staying in training as a 4-year-old in 2005," said Alan Cooper, the Niarchos family's racing manager.

Bago, the European 2-year-old champion in 2003, had been earmarked for the Classic since winning the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Longchamp in his seasonal debut on June 6. A victory three weeks later in the Grand Prix de Paris confirmed his ability to stay 1 1/4 miles, and although he lost his undefeated record when third in the Juddmonte International at York on Aug. 17, he gained the admiration of the racing world with his Arc heroics two Sundays ago.

Cooper has not ruled out a Breeders' Cup attempt for Bago next year, when the event will be held at Belmont Park. Cooper suggested that a Breeders' Cup race for Bago in 2005 could be preceded by stops in the Prix Ganay, the Prince of Wales's Stakes, the Eclipse Stakes, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, and a defense of his Arc title.

The news about Bago follows on the heels of last Friday's announcement by trainer Michael Jarvis that Rakti, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner, will skip the Breeders' Cup Mile in favor of a trip to Tokyo for the Japan Cup, after which he could be sent to Sha Tin for either the Hong Kong Cup or the Hong Kong Mile.

The fewest foreign-trained horses to run in a Breeders' Cup was nine, in the inaugural Cup at Santa Anita in 1984 and again in the 1997 Cup at Hollywood. Fifteen European-trained runners are under consideration for this year's event, but some of them fall into the categories of possible or doubtful.

Six Perfections will defend her Mile title for the Niarchos family. There she will be joined by Whipper, the Prix Jacques le Marois winner, but a decision about Prix Daniel Wildenstein winner Cacique will not be made by Juddmonte Farms and trainer Andre Fabre until the weekend.

Crimson Palace, in America since having won the Beverly D. at Arlington on Aug. 14, will go in the Filly and Mare Turf for Godolphin. She will be joined by the Fabre-trained Nebraska Tornado, but the participation of English and Irish Oaks winner Ouija Board, a fast-closing third in the Arc, will not be made by trainer Ed Dunlop and owner Lord Derby until Friday, as she must be supplemented for $120,000.

Five Europeans are possible for the Turf, among them Arc absentee Mubtaker, who is more likely to go in Saturday's Champion Stakes at Newmarket, and Arc ninth Warrsan.

The joker in the Breeders' Cup deck right now is trainer Aidan O'Brien, who is contemplating six runners for four different races. The most interesting of these is Powerscourt, the disqualified winner of the Arlington Million. O'Brien said on Tuesday that a decision to send Powerscourt in either the Turf or the Classic will be made early next week. The other O'Brien possibilities are Tycoon and Acropolis in the Turf, Yesterday in the Filly and Mare Turf, Antonius Pius in the Mile, and Oratorio, recent winner of the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, in the Juvenile.

Still being considered for the Sprint is Var, an ex-American trained by Clive Brittain. Var won the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp on Oct. 3, and is considered more likely for the Hong Kong Sprint on Dec. 12 than for the BC Sprint.

Any French-trained horses traveling to Lone Star will depart from Beauvais near Paris on a flight scheduled to arrive in Dallas on Oct. 25. That plane will stop at a London-area airport to pick up the British-trained horses. O'Brien's runners will travel on a charter flight from Ireland that would arrive the weekend before the Breeders' Cup.