06/27/2004 11:00PM

Bago pointed for BC Classic


The undefeated Bago will be aimed at the Breeders' Cup Classic following his late-closing victory over Cacique in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp on Sunday.

The 1 1/4-mile, $610,000 contest was the sixth straight victory for Bago, who was the highweighted 2-year-old on the International Classification last year. The Grand Prix de Paris win prompted Alan Cooper, racing manager for the Niarchos Family, to announce that Bago, a 3-year-old son of Nashwan trained by Jonathan Pease, will be campaigned for the balance of the year with the Classic in mind.

Cooper mentioned as possible races for Bago the Juddmonte International Stakes at York on Aug. 17 and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown Sept. 11, when he could run into the Irish Derby winner Grey Swallow.

In what turned into a slowly run four-horse affair, Bago's entrymate, Alnitak, set a pedestrian pace with Cacique right on his heels as jockey Thierry Gillet was content to relax at the rear with the 1-10 Bago. Gary Stevens put Cacique on the lead at the three-eighths pole, but Gillet waited patiently with Bago, who took the lead near the line to defeat Cacique by a half-length.

The winning time on good-to- soft ground was 2:05.60, well off Chichicastenango's 2002 track mark of 2:01.00.