10/20/2005 11:00PM

BC Mile: Gomez may get to ride Artie Schiller

Artie Schiller works six furlongs in 1:12.40 on the grass at Belmont on Friday morning. "I thought it was good and steady, and he finished up pretty good," trainer Jimmy Jerkens said.

Artie Schiller worked six furlongs on the Belmont Park turf course Friday morning. This was less than 24 hours after he lost his regular rider, Richard Migliore, who was injured in the paddock Thursday at Belmont. So while Artie Schiller is prepped and ready now for the Breeders' Cup Mile, he will need a new pilot.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens thinks he has found one in Garrett Gomez, though plans had not been finalized as of Friday afternoon, since Jerkens said he still had to confirm the choice with Artie Schiller's owners.

"He's our leading candidate," Jerkens said. "I talked to the agent last night, and I really like the way he rides. A big day like that, I definitely wanted to get someone who's riding a few races on the card."

Among other horses on the Breeders' Cup, Gomez rides Borrego, one of the favorites in the Classic.

It was an exercise rider who put Artie Schiller through his paces Friday. Artie Schiller, working by himself, was timed in 1:12.40. It was the serious work the horse needed, Jerkens said, after a mild half-mile dirt breeze last week.

"I thought it was good and steady, and he finished up pretty good," said Jerkens. "His last work wasn't meant to be anything more than something to set him up for this one."

Artie Schiller finished second by a head to Funfair last out in the Kelso Handicap, but he is widely regarded as one of the best milers in the country. It was Artie Schiller who, surprisingly, wound up as favorite in last year's BC Mile at Lone Star Park. He finished a troubled 12th there, and it took Jerkens longer to set the colt straight this season than he had expected.

But Artie Schiller has not run a poor race all year, and is coming up to the Breeders' Cup the right way, Jerkens believes.

"Yeah, I am happy with him," he said. "I thought he ran big last time, and for laying up a lot closer to the pace than he's used to. He's a horse that's got a good run to him, but it can be a really short run. He can really fire for three-eighths of a mile."

Where Artie Schiller is placed in the Breeders' Cup depends, Jerkens said, on the race's pace. If the front-runners are flying, Artie Schiller will sit back and wait. If the pace is slower, Artie Schiller will lay closer. What it means is that Artie Schiller is multidimensional, which will make the get-acquainted process for Gomez, or whoever ends up riding him, that much smoother.