10/17/2002 11:00PM

BC Countdown - Mile: Dollase says fresh is fine for Good Journey


Trainer Wally Dollase knows what it takes to win a Breeders' Cup race, and that's what makes him so excited about Good Journey in the BC Mile.

Good Journey has become something of a forgotten horse heading into the $1 million Mile, although not without reason. Dollase skipped the final round of traditional preps on the first weekend of October, choosing instead to train Good Journey up to the race. So while other Mile prospects have remained in the spotlight by being active in recent weeks, Good Journey, even with a four-race win streak intact, has become a mostly forgotten entity.

"That doesn't bother me," Dollase said Friday from Santa Anita. "I know what I'm sitting on here."

Beginning with his first Breeders' Cup in 1990, Dollase has saddled 12 starters in the event, winning the 1996 Distaff with Jewel Princess and sending out four runners-up. Dollase also had the solid favorite for the 1998 Distaff, with Sharp Cat. But the filly missed the race because of muscle cramps. And if familial success counts for anything, it shouldn't be forgotten that Dollase's son, Craig, trained Reraise to win the 1998 BC Sprint.

That relative wealth of Breeders' Cup experience should have horseplayers listening closely when Dollase talks about Good Journey.

"He's got it all," he said. "This horse is brave. He's lovely. He's got a great mind. I think he's going to run a hell of a race. He doesn't get into trouble.

"He's push button. When you ask him to go, he takes off like a rocket. He won't do anything until you ask him.

"He never runs scared. Every time you ask him to lay it on the line, he goes out and does it."

But what does Dollase really think about Good Journey? "He's a remarkable horse," he said.

Good Journey, owned by Flaxman Holdings Ltd., has been brought along slowly, which is largely typical of the offspring of his sire, the great Nureyev. After giving Good Journey only three races at 3, three races at 4, and four races at 5, Dollase has put a racing saddle on Good Journey's back only three times this year, giving the 6-year-old horse a grand total of 13 career starts.

His most recent races - such as they are - have been his best. After closing out 2001 with a win in the Citation Handicap at Hollywood, Good Journey returned in June with an allowance win at Churchill Downs. He followed with a win in the Firecracker at Churchill on July 4, then was away until the Sept. 8 Atto Mile, a Grade 1 at Woodbine. He won by a length, ridden out by regular rider Pat Day.

"He runs terrific fresh, which is the main reason we've gone with this schedule," said Dollase. "And Pat Day loves him, which to me is a big plus."

Dollase is so confident that he does not care if the European superstar Rock of Gibraltar is part of the Mile field. Although Rock of Gibraltar is pre-entered in the Mile, trainer Aidan O'Brien has said it is more likely that Rock of Gibraltar will run in the BC Classic.

Good Journey worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 Thursday at Santa Anita. He was scheduled to be flown to Chicago on Saturday.