10/14/2003 11:00PM

Greely thinks Santa Anita-loving Century City deserves a shot


Four years ago, trainer Beau Greely was prepared to start Five Star Day in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Gulfstream Park only to endure the disappointment of being omitted from an oversubscribed field.

Greely is hoping to avoid a repeat with Century City in the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

The Mile was expected to have a large field when pre-entries were announced on Thursday, with some horses left on an alternate list.

Century City, 4, has won 2 of 8 starts this year, including the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap last April. In his most recent start, Century City was third in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 5, finishing behind Mile hopefuls Designed for Luck and Sarafan.

Greely is confident that Century City will be included among the 14 horses guaranteed berths, one of the group of seven to be chosen by the selection committee. If a race is oversubscribed, the first seven runners get in automatically on a graded stakes points system. Century City will not be in that group.

"There are some horses that have to be chosen that haven't won a graded stakes," Greely said, adding that off Century City's performance in the Oak Tree Mile, "I would think he deserves a shot."

The Oak Tree Mile was Century City's first start since a seventh-place finish in the Shoemaker Mile last May at Hollywood Park. Sent off as the longest shot in the field at 30-1, he rallied from seventh at the eighth pole to miss by two lengths.

"I think that was one of the best races he's run," Greely said. "I had him about 70 or 80 percent. He was at the back and exploded at the quarter pole to run that race. I think it shows he's into his best form ever."

Greely acknowledges that the Mile will be very difficult to win. The top contenders include the European invaders Oasis Dream, Refuse to Bend, and Six Perfections; Special Ring, the Eddie Read Handicap winner who was fourth as the favorite in the Oak Tree Mile; and Perfect Soul, the winner of the Shadwell Keeneland Mile.

"I was going over the form of Six Perfections, and the majority of her races are on soft or yielding [turf]," Greely said. "For the Europeans, this is a completely different course. Some might not like the top of the ground. I know Century City loves Santa Anita."

Greely said that Century City was pre-entered for the Turf, but said that the Mile is a first preference.

"If Special Ring comes back, he'll be exceptional," he said. "It looks like there will be a lot of speed."

The Mile will not include Senor Swinger. Trainer Bob Baffert on Wednesday said that Senor Swinger was not pre-entered for the Mile, and will be pointed for the $600,000 Hollywood Derby over 1 1/4 miles on turf on Nov. 30.

Owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, Senor Swinger has won two stakes this year - the Crown Royal American Turf and the Jefferson Cup, both on grass as Churchill Downs.

"He's young and I'll wait until next year," Baffert said. "It looks pretty tough."