09/27/2008 11:00PM

Hyperbaric out to earn BC spot

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Three times in the spring and early summer, Hyperbaric placed in graded turf stakes in California. It may have been the prologue to a memorable fall campaign.

Hyperbaric will start favored in Sunday's $200,000 Oak Tree Mile on turf at Santa Anita, a possible prep to the Breeders' Cup Mile here Oct. 25. Trainer Julio Canani, who has won two runnings of the BC Mile, thinks Hyperbaric can show further improvement Sunday.

"He's run good the whole year," Canani said. "He was getting beat by decent horses."

In the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile, which offers an automatic berth to the BC Mile through the Breeders' Cup's Win and You're In program, Hyperbaric is the decent horse.

Owned by Prestonwood Racing, Hyperbaric has won his last two starts, an optional claimer at Del Mar and the restricted Brubaker Handicap, both of which were over 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Earlier this year, Hyerbaric was second in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap and third in the Grade 1 Shoemaker and Grade 2 American Handicap. After the American, jockey Garrett Gomez told Canani that he had used the wrong tactics.

"Garrett said, 'I went too easy on the backstretch. I should have gotten after the horse,'" Canani said. "He was closer to the pace with Garrett in the last two races."

Hyperbaric will be tracking Tropic Storm in the Oak Tree Mile, which has nine entrants. Tropic Storm is one of two Oak Tree Mile entrants owned by West Point Thoroughbreds. The syndicate also owns Awesome Gem, the third-place finisher in 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic. Trainer Craig Dollase said earlier this week that Awesome Gem was more likely to start at Golden Gate Fields in the All American on Saturday.

Tropic Storm is seeking his first graded stakes win. He was third in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 17.

Two threats from off the pace are Global Hunter and Tybalt. Global Hunter, bred in Argentina, was third in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on turf on Aug. 24, encountering traffic through the final sixteenth.

"He needs to be in the clear," trainer A.C. Avila said. "Canani's horse is the horse to beat."

Tybalt finished first and second in allowance races at Hollywood Park in the spring. The Oak Tree Mile is his first start since June 1.