10/25/2006 11:00PM

It's fashionable this year to arrive late


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Nine days before Breeders' Cup next Saturday, an overwhelming majority of horses in this year's big event still were not on the grounds at Churchill Downs, and were not expected to arrive until early next week. Their trainers have chosen to complete final Breeders' Cup preparations at either their home tracks or about 45 miles down the road at Keeneland.

As of Thursday, fewer than 25 of the 121 Breeders' Cup pre-entrants inb the eight races were on site in Louisville. Among BC runners stabled at Churchill Downs were Classic contenders Flower Alley, Sun King, and Suave - and Perfect Drift was just around the corner at the Churchill Downs training center. Other prominent Breeders' Cup runners who were scheduled to have their final work under the twin spires over the next several mornings are Hollywood Story (Distaff), Happy Ticket (Distaff), C P West (Juvenile), Film Maker (Filly and Mare Turf), Better Talk Now (Turf), Bordonaro (Sprint), Silent Lure (Sprint) and Dubai Escapade (Sprint).

Keeneland, with its Polytrack surface, has attracted a large group of Breeders' Cup starters, including trainer Doug O'Neill's strong contingent led by Lava Man (Classic) and Sharp Hunter (Juvenile). They are training daily over the new racetrack alongside key Breeders' Cup contenders such as Gorella (Mile or Filly and Mare Turf), Cacique (Turf) and Asi Siempre (Distaff or Filly and Mare Turf).

Trainer Todd Pletcher has 14 of his 18 potential Breeders' Cup starters stabled in New York, 13 of whom are scheduled to have their final work, weather permitting, at Belmont Park on Sunday morning. The group includes Distaff contenders Fleet Indian, Spun Sugar and Pool Land, the likely Juvenile favorite Circular Quay, top Turf contender English Channel, and possible Filly and Mare Turf favorite Wait a While. They'll be joined Sunday at Belmont by the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained duo of Henny Hughes (Sprint) and Invasor (Classic), Shug McGaughey's Pine Island (Distaff), and Premium Tap (Classic), from the barn of trainer John Kimmel.

Among the more than one dozen West Coast-based Breeders' Cup starters who will work at either Hollywood Park or Santa Anita before shipping to Kentucky early next week are Brother Derek (Classic), Super Frolic (Classic), Aragorn (Mile), Too Much Bling (Sprint), and T.H. Approval (Turf).

The first of the Europeans will arrive at Churchill Downs on Sunday and must clear quarantine before being allowed to train. The four Calder-based Breeders' Cup starters, including Grade 1 winner Pomeroy (Sprint), will also have their final works at home prior to shipping out of the warm weather and up to chilly Louisville to race.

Street Sense works well

One Breeders' Cup starter who braved the rain and 46-degree temperature to work on Thursday at Churchill was Juvenile contender Street Sense, who turned in an impressive move shortly after the renovation break, going six furlongs in 1:14.48 over the fast track.

Under jockey Calvin Borel, Street Sense was relaxed and unhurried breaking off at the six-furlong pole going his opening eighth- and quarter-mile splits in 13.35 and 26.53 seconds, respectively. Borel continued to allow Street Sense to travel along under his own will entering the turn, completing three-eighths in a leisurely 39.42. But approaching the stretch, Street Sense really began to pick up the pace while under mild urging, completing the second half of the work in a brisk 35.06, including a final eighth in 11.42 before galloping out seven furlongs in 1:27.11.

This was a useful move for Street Sense, who sustained a lively pace through the latter half of the work while coming off a strong performance in the Breeders' Futurity, in which he flattened out slightly in late stretch after making a big sweeping run around the final turn.