10/14/2006 12:00AM

Gorella's victory wins BC Mile berth


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Gorella was just good enough to earn a measured victory Saturday at Keeneland in the $400,000 in an effort that told trainer Patrick Biancone he needs to run the standout filly against the boys again in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

"When a horse runs a mile in 1:34, it is not hard to decide," said Biancone, who had maintained beforehand that he was torn between entering Gorella in the BC Mile or against her own gender in the 1 3/8-mile BC Filly and Mare Turf in the Nov. 4 championship series at Churchill Downs.

Gorella, owned by Martin Schwartz and ridden by Julien Leparoux, was on the bit for most of the Grade 2 First Lady, tugging her jockey through traffic on the final turn before easing between rivals and finally prevailing by a nose over a stubborn Karen's Caper. Gorella returned $3.60 as the favorite after finishing in 1:34.14 over a firm turf.

My Typhoon finished another 5 1/2 lengths behind in third in the field of eight fillies and mares, followed by Dash of Humor, Mea Domina, Chic Dancer, Wend, and Stella Blue. Early scratches were Our Love, Sweet Talker, and Bag of Quarters.

Noting how Gorella had not raced since rallying from last to first to win the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park on Aug. 12, Leparoux said his mount "was a little bit fresh" and that "maybe that is why she didn't win so easy."

Biancone said he did not believe Gorella was fully extended.

"It's great because we need her to be fresh again in three weeks," he said. "This race was part of the plan."

For Karen's Caper, who was ridden by Edgar Prado, the narrow defeat was her second in a major fall stakes at Keeneland. She also finished second by a nose in the 2005 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.