10/04/2006 12:00AM

With BC Ticket on the line, Silent Name steers clear of Aragorn


Six months have passed since Silent Name scored an authoritative win in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita. In that time, Silent Name has lost his status as a leading turf miler in California, overshadowed by Aragorn, who has won his last three starts.

To stay away from Aragorn, Silent Name has been sent to Keeneland for Saturday's $600,000 Shadwell Mile, his last chance to gain a spot in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

"We'll have to earn our way into the Breeders' Cup," trainer Gary Mandella said.

Silent Name has made two starts since the Arcadia, finishing third behind Aragorn twice - in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park in May and the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar over 1 1/8 miles on turf in July. A Japanese-bred colt, he has been pointed to the Shadwell Mile since August, when Mandella opted to keep him out of the Grade 2 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap, a race won by Aragorn.

Mandella could have kept Silent Name in California for Saturday's $250,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita, but he decided to avoid another start against Aragorn. Instead, Silent Name is at Keeneland, where he has drawn the rail in a field of nine.

"I think he has to reestablish his form from earlier this year," Mandella said.

In the Arcadia, Silent Name took his customary position just behind the leaders and snuck through along the inside to lead in early stretch. He won by 1 1/2 lengths, finishing in 1:33.17. He'll need to run at least that well to win the Shadwell Mile.

"If you handicap him as a miler, and you give him credit for running a little too far last time, his form isn't that bad," Mandella said, referring to the Eddie Read. "Racing at a mile brings him to the top echelon of horses."

The Shadwell Mile is led by Miesque's Approval, the winner of three consecutive starts, including the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland in April; and Aussie Rules, the winner of the French 2000 Guineas in May.

Aragorn, trained by Neil Drysdale, has scared off most of the competition in the Oak Tree Mile, where he will face a short field, including the Irish import Lord Admiral.

American-based horses such as Aragorn, Miesque's Approval, and Silent Name will have a tough assignment in the Breeders' Cup Mile against a talented European raiding team.

George Washington, the winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Sept. 23, is favored in the Breeders' Cup Mile with English bookmakers.

Godolphin Racing has three outstanding candidates: Ashkal Way, the winner of the Kelso Breeders' Cup Mile at Belmont last Saturday; Caradak, the winner of the Prix de la Foret in Paris last Saturday; and Librettist, who has won two Group 1 races in France this year.