09/19/2007 12:00AM

BC Dirt Mile: Top 4 looking elsewhere

EmailWhile nearly 20 horses are known to be under consideration for the first running of the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Monmouth Park, several of them also are being considered for other Breeders' Cup races, including the Sprint and Classic.

In fact, the top four horses in the first week of Daily Racing Form's rankings for the Dirt Mile – Discreet Cat, Midnight Lute, Hard Spun, and Surf Cat – could wind up in a different race, leaving Lava Man and Corinthian as the leading contenders.

Discreet Cat, the top-ranked Dirt Mile prospect, has been working steadily at Belmont Park since being laid up following his last-place finish in the March 31 Dubai World Cup. The 4-year-old colt will return in the Vosburgh at Belmont on Sept. 30, and his Godolphin connections have said their Breeders' Cup choice for him most likely will be the Dirt Mile, although other options exist.

Midnight Lute, who earned an eye-popping 124 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Sept. 1 Forego at Saratoga, is a candidate for the Dirt Mile or the $2 million Sprint at six furlongs, although his last seven races, dating back to more than a year ago, have been at seven furlongs or farther.

The connections of Hard Spun, who runs next in the Sept. 29 Kentucky Cup Classic, have said he is more a candidate for the $5omillion BC Classic, although a subpar prep could lead him to the Dirt Mile.

Surf Cat goes next in the Oct. 7 Oak Tree Mile at Santa Anita, marking his turf debut, with trainer Bruce Headley looking to use the race as a turf-to-dirt prep for the Dirt Mile.

The Dirt Mile, one of three new Breeders' Cup events being run on Oct. 26, will be run at a mile and 70 yards around two turns at Monmouth. The race also will be run around two turns next year at Santa Anita, although in some future years, when the Breeders' Cup is held at tracks such as Churchill Downs or Belmont, it would be run around one turn.