10/27/2005 12:00AM

Captain Squire a big fish


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Jeff Mullins had two options on Breeders' Cup Day for the 6-year-old Captain Squire. Either go for the gusto against Lost in the Fog in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint or be the big fish in a smaller pond, the $250,000 Sport Page Handicap.

In the end, Mullins said the decision to enter Captain Squire in the seven-furlong Sport Page was easy.

"I didn't want him to be the sacrificial lamb in the Sprint," Mullins said. "I didn't want to throw him to the wolves, especially the young ones in the Sprint. They've got sharper teeth."

Nobody would have blamed Mullins for trying the Sprint with Captain Squire after the gelding's gutsy half-length, wire-to-wire win in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup on Oct. 8. The Ancient Title was only Captain Squire's second start since he returned from a 14-month layoff in August.

"He's probably a better horse now than he's ever been," said Mullins. "But it was really an easy choice to go in the Sport Page. I want to keep the old guy around a little longer."

will carry highweight of 121 pounds, including regular rider Alex Solis, in the Sport Page, the opening race on Saturday's 10-race Breeders' Cup card at Belmont.

The Grade 3 Sport Page will have a California flavor with Captain Squire to be joined in the starting gate by fellow West Coast runners Brand Name, Gotaghostofachance, and Hasty Kris. The remainder of the field is Silver Wagon, Value Plus, Joey P., Grand Reward, Voodoo, and Wild Tale.

finished fourth, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, after getting shuffled around during the middle stages of the Ancient Title. An improving son of Silver Ghost, Gotaghostofachance finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length by BC Sprint contender Imperialism, in the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Handicap six weeks earlier.

won a seven-furlong optional claiming race at Del Mar in July but was no match for Captain Squire under similar conditions a month later.

Silver Wagon has finished second in the Metropolitan Handicap, third in the Forego, and fourth in the Vosburgh, all Grade 1 races, in his last three starts. But he had the misfortune of drawing the tough inside post for the Sport Page.

Voodoo was stakes-placed twice in Grade 2 sprints earlier this year and remains winless since 2003.

Value Plus was a beaten favorite in each of his last two starts but was a dominant winner of Gulfstream Park's Artax Handicap in the spring.