10/25/2001 12:00AM

Classic AM report: Galileo skips gallop


ELMONT, N.Y. - Galileo, Europe's superstar 3-year-old who will be racing on dirt for the first time in Saturday's $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic, spent much of Thursday in his stall after original plans called for a trip to the track for a morning gallop.

Galileo's trainer, Aidan O'Brien arrived with his seven-horse Breeders' Cup contingent on Tuesday, but has yet to bring any of them to the track since clearing quarantine on Wednesday. O'Brien did say, however, that all of his horses (Mozart, Johannesburg, Milan, Black Minnaloushe, Bach, Sophisticat and Galileo) all traveled well and arrived in fine shape.

"We didn't decide until this morning not to bring them to the track," O'Brien said.

Galileo has won five of six races in Ireland and Great Britain this season, including three Group 1 wins in the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby, and King George.

"Obviously there will be concerns about Galileo on the dirt because he's never done it. But we did this same thing last year with Giant's Causeway. You never know if a horse will handle it until he actually goes out there and runs," said O'Brien in reference to his runner-up finish in last year's Classic with Giant's Causeway, who was also switching from turf to dirt.

Despite Galileo's inexperience on dirt, O'Brien believes the faster pace of American racing will be an advantage for his horse.

"Galileo is a horse who likes big, strongly run races," said O'Brien. "He likes a fastly run race and then a grind late rather than running a slow race and then quickening.

"He's been working very well, we've been happy with him, and the post is rather fine. We're confident."

Galileo and the rest of O'Brien's horses are scheduled to get out on Belmont's track tomorrow when they are all expected to gallop in the morning.

Aptitude as good as he can be

Both trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Jerry Bailey remain very confident about Aptitude's chances in Saturday's $4 million Classic.

"Everything's going fine. He's doing as good as he can be," said Frankel about Aptitude at a press conference at Belmont Thursday morning. "He's a stronger, sounder horse this year than he was last year. The blinkers have really helped him, and he's a horse who likes these tracks out here. If this Breeders' Cup was in

California, I probably would have left Aptitude home and run Skimming instead because he likes the West Coast tracks. But Aptitude, he likes the Eastern tracks."

Aptitude drew post 12 in the 13-horse Classic Field, and has been installed as the race's 2-1 morning line favorite with Bailey set to ride.

"I've done all I can do, now Jerry (Bailey) has just got to get him around the racetrack."

Bailey is confident that he can do just that.

"I can only have one worse post and that's 13," Bailey said. "But he's shown a versatility in his last few races. I just hope

I don't lose too much ground into the first turn."

O'Callaghan confident in Guided Tour

Trainer Niall O'Callaghan's Guided Tour visited the Belmont track for the first time Thursday after arriving by plane from Kentucky on Wednesday. The Kentucky Cup Classic winner lightly jogged a mile, stood in the starting gate, and then concluded the morning's activities with a 1 1/4-mile gallop.

"I'm confident he's going to run a good race, the only question is if he's good enough," said O'Callaghan.

"Physically, he looks healthier now than he has all year"

Guided Tour worked out four furlongs in :50 in company with Keats on Tuesday at Churchill Downs, according to O'Callaghan. "He blew Keats away."

This will be Guided Tour's second try in the Breeders' Cup Classic. He was 12th in last year's renewal.

"Last year he came in off the Hawthorne Gold Cup, and he had never run a race like that before. I think that may have taken something out of him," said O'Callaghan. "When we took shots before we had some bad luck, and last year he got slammed around in the Breeders' Cup. This year, I really think he's getting

better his last few races, and there's still more improvement left in him."

Guided Tour drew post two in the Classic and has been installed at 15-1 in the morning line under jockey Larry Melancon.

"I'm delighted about the post," said O'Callaghan. "For a stalker, he drew the perfect post."

An unspecified share of Guided Tour was recently sold to Buckram Oak Farm by owner Morton Fink. However, Guided Tour will race in Fink's colors Saturday.