10/02/2007 11:00PM

BC Dirt Mile: Locals consider run

EmailHome-track advantage occasionally is a factor in the Breeders' Cup, especially when the races are run at one of the major tracks in California, New York, or Kentucky, where many top horses are based.

But when the Breeders' Cup veers off its beaten path, the home-track factor diminishes. That figures to prove true this year, when Monmouth Park hosts the championships for the first time, although a few horses with successful form over the local strip are being pointed for the BC Dirt Mile.

Gottcha Gold, Park Avenue Ball, and Cable Boy are listed by officials at Breeders' Cup Ltd. as being under serious consideration for the BC Mile, and unlike the majority of BC starters, whose connections intend to ship to New Jersey a few days out, they have been training at Monmouth for months.

Gottcha Gold looks best of the local trio, although that might have been laughable four months ago after the speedy colt faded to second in an overnight stakes at Monmouth. Since then, however, Gottcha Gold, trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., defeated Lawyer Ron in the June 23 Salvator Mile, then won the Iselin BC Handicap in his most recent start Aug. 18.

Park Avenue Ball was no threat at 26-1 last Sunday in the Vosburgh, but that six-furlong race should be a welcome tightener toward a return to Monmouth, where the 5-year-old horse owns 6 wins, 3 seconds, and 1 third from 10 starts.

Trainer Pat McBurney, who most recently worked Cable Boy on Sept. 24, is trying to determine whether to even try the Dirt Mile after the colt disappointed badly in the Haskell and Pennsylvania Derby.

The Dirt Mile lost a top prospect to the BC Classic last weekend when Hard Spun won the Kentucky Cup Classic, but it may have gotten its favorite when Godolphin confirmed that Discreet Cat, who ran third as the odds-on favorite in the Vosburgh, would make his next start in the Dirt Mile.

The Dirt Mile should take further shape Saturday, when Istan goes in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, and on Sunday when Lava Man and Surf Cat race in the Oak Tree BC Mile.