10/16/2001 12:00AM

Galileo may stay home rather than risk travel


The six horses trainer Aidan O'Brien intends to run in the World Thoroughbred Championships could stay in Europe if international concerns over terrorist activities worsen over the next few days.

As of Monday's five-day entry stage, O'Brien had left his Breeders' Cup Classic hopeful, Galileo, in Saturday's Group 1 Champion Stakes as a precaution against that possibility.

Should the situation deteriorate, Galileo would not travel to New York on Tuesday as planned, but would remain at O'Brien's Ballydoyle yard in County Kildare, Ireland. He would then make the relatively short trip to Newmarket, England, for the Champion Stakes.

If the situation remains unchanged, Galileo will ship to Belmont Park on Tuesday with stablemates Johannesburg, Mozart, Black Minnaloushe, Sophisticat, and Bach.

Medicean retired

Another Champion Stakes nominee, the two-time Group 1 winner Medicean, has been retired.

A 4-year-old British-bred son of Machiavellian, Medicean bruised his right foreleg in a workout at Newmarket on Saturday while preparing for the race. His owners, David and Patricia Thompson, decided to retire him to their Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket despite the minor nature of the injury.

Trained by Michael Stoute, Medicean took the one-mile Group 2 Celebration Mile at 3. This year he won the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes and the Group 2 Queen Anne Stakes, both at a mile, before landing the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 Eclipse Stakes. In 12 starts Medicean won six times and earned $785,242.

Classic first choice for Sakhee

As expected, Godolphin will pre-enter Sakhee and Fantastic Light in both the Classic and the Turf, as confirmed Tuesday by its racing manager Simon Crisford. The surprise is that Arc winner Sakhee will be named in the Classic as his first choice.

Tom Albertrani, Godolphin's man in New York, said that Sakhee and Fantastic Light will work on the Belmont main track on Friday or Saturday, but it is difficult to see Sakhee, a 4-year-old son of Bahri, going in the Classic when Godolphin has been pointing Fantastic Light to that race since late summer.

Although Sakhee is in the Classic as his first choice, Godolphin can still choose to run him in the Turf, even if, as seems likely, he is accepted into the Classic by the Breeders' Cup selection committee.

For the Mile, Godolphin has announced it will pre-enter both Noverre and the locally trained Express Tour. That would be the first race on turf for Express Tour, who impressed with a five-length win in the one-mile Jerome Handicap last month.

With the Eoin Harty-trained 2-year-olds Essence of Dubai and Ibn Al Haitham expected to go in the Juvenile, and Tempera and Imperial Gesture targeted for the Juvenile Fillies, Godolphin could have eight runners in the Breeders' Cup. If they all go, that number would break the owners' record of six Cup starters, set by Allen Paulson in 1987.