10/23/2005 11:00PM

BC Mile: 'Leroi' frisky after his drill

Leroidesanimaux, with John Velazquez and assistant trainer Ruben Loza, gets ready to work at Belmont on Monday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Leroidesanimaux eventually got in his final work for the Breeders' Cup Mile on Monday at Belmont. Turf works were at 9:15 a.m. You needed a special slip to get your horse onto the grass course. Trainer Bobby Frankel was standing at the gap leading onto the racetrack a quarter-mile past the finish line, turf slip in hand, ready and waiting at 9:15. No horse.

"Where are you?" Frankel was heard shouting into his cell phone as 9:30 came and went.

Finally, Leroidesanimaux and his work partner, Ay Caramba, came around the corner, headed onto the racetrack, and worked a half-mile around the dogs, Leroidesanimaux taking the inside path. Both were timed in 50.98 seconds for a half-mile, with Leroidesanimaux pulling away past the wire. The mild fireworks came a few moments later, when Leroidesanimaux bucked and reared coming off the track and starting down the horse path back to his barn.

"He was like a wild horse," jockey John Velazquez said. "It was strange, because he was so kind going out to the track."

Back at Frankel's barn, Velazquez wanted to make certain the work had been strong enough.

"That's all he needs, that's all he needs," Frankel assured him.

Leroidesanimaux worked in aluminum bar shoes Monday, but will be re-shod Saturday morning in regular racing plates. The bar shoes - which generally afford less traction - were applied Sunday because Leroidesanimaux had "sloughed his frogs," Frankel said. The frog protrudes from the horse's sole and is composed of softer material than the outer part of the hoof.

"This happens to horses all the time," Frankel said. "I'm not taking any chances. You don't want it to get irritated and raw."

The situation didn't appear to concern Frankel, and indeed, Leroidesanimaux certainly looks the part of a Mile favorite. The race has so far held together with no late defections, and the last Mile contenders should be arriving Tuesday. As of Monday, the Mile had a projected field of 13, since pre-entries Laura's Lucky Boy, Sir Shackleton, and Starcraft are probably running in other BC races.

Sand Springs, another Mile contender, also worked here Monday, breezing a half-mile on dirt in 48.32 seconds. On Sunday, defending Mile champion Singletary had his last breeze, going an easy five furlongs in 1:02.60 at Hollywood Park, and Kelso Handicap winner Funfair worked seven furlongs on wood chips at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland.

Valixir, the top European hope, arrived this weekend from France already having completed his serious training for the Mile. He will merely jog here this week, trainer Andre Fabre said.

In fact, the only scheduled drama before the Mile itself is the all-important post-position draw Wednesday.

"People don't understand how important that is," Frankel said. "Who wants to have the 14-hole in any of these races?"