10/24/2003 11:00PM

Filly balks, then blows 'em away

Six Perfections unleashes an explosive rally in the stretch to win Saturday's $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Only when she was ready did Six Perfections show why she has been one of the top milers in Europe this year.

After briefly refusing to load, Six Perfections unleashed an explosive rally in the stretch to win Saturday's $1.5 million at Santa Anita. The only 3-year-old filly in the field of 13, Six Perfections outfinished Touch of the Blues by three-quarters of a length. Century City, a 39-1 shot, finished third.

The victory marked the fifth win in the Mile for the Niarchos family of Europe, who won with Miesque (1987-88), Spinning World (1997), and Domedriver (2002).

Six Perfections gave French trainer Pascal Bary his second consecutive win in the Mile. Bary said Six Perfections is likely to stay in training and will be pointed for the 2004 Breeders' Cup Mile at Lone Star Park.

"She's very special," Bary said. "Even at 2, she had that same acceleration. To be able to do that, she's fantastic."

Ridden by Jerry Bailey, Six Perfections ($12.60) started from post 12, a position that was expected to compromise her chances. Bailey had Six Perfections in eighth early, racing off the rail. Peace Rules, the 3-1 favorite, set the early pace of 22.28 and 45.40 seconds, closely tracked by Soaring Free and Designed for Luck.

After six furlongs in 1:09.41, Six Perfections was seventh, but only 3 1/2 lengths behind Designed for Luck, who had a narrow lead over Peace Rules.

Bailey brought Six Perfections to the outside between horses in early stretch, and quickly got a response. Six Perfections was two lengths behind Soaring Free at the eighth pole, and took the lead with 100 yards remaining.

"She had a great turn of foot and put in an exceptional performance," Bailey said.

Six Perfections finished a mile in 1:33.86. She has won 6 of 10 starts and $1,451,544. The Breeders' Cup Mile was her sixth stakes win.

Touch of the Blues, the winner of the Atto Mile at Woodbine last month, closed from 12th. He was alongside Six Perfections in the final furlong but couldn't keep pace.

"He ran a super race," trainer Neil Drysdale said. "She had a bit more left than he did."

Century City closed from eighth with a furlong remaining to just miss Touch of the Blues.

"I think we've found out he's a miler," trainer Beau Greely said of Century City. "We didn't win but it was the most fun we could have had without winning. No one thought he belonged."

Century City was followed by Irish Warrior, Soaring Free, Freefourinternet, Designed for Luck, Special Ring, Perfect Soul, Oasis Dream, Refuse to Bend, Decarchy, and Peace Rules.

Jockey Edgar Prado said the quick pace hurt Peace Rules.

"He was pressured every step and that didn't help," Prado said.

Six Perfections becomes the fourth filly to win the Mile, preceded by Royal Heroine (1984), Miesque, and Ridgewood Pearl (1995).

The brief delay at the gate did not surprise or concern Bary.

"She wants to fight, even with people," Bary said.

As Saturday's race showed, Six Perfections usually wins.