02/27/2003 12:00AM

Kilroe part of Good Journey farewell tour


ARCADIA, Calif. - Time is running down on Good Journey. A 7-year-old, he is favored to win the most prestigious mile turf race of winter on Saturday at Santa Anita, but he will be long-retired by fall, when the Breeders' Cup Mile is run on the same course.

Good Journey has won five of his last six, seven out of 15 overall, finished third in the 2002 BC Mile, and earned more than $1.6 million from 15 starts. The resume warrants 124-pound top weight for the Grade 2 Frank E. Kilroe, race 8 on the Santa Anita Handicap card. The credentials also make Good Journey an attractive stallion prospect. He goes to Australia in June.

"He's been incredibly consistent," trainer Wally Dollase said, "and he'll run over anything."

He will have to; persistent rain will render the Santa Anita turf course less than firm. The condition might provide an alibi for all but Good Journey. "I don't know if it will hurt anyone else, but it sure won't hurt me," said Dollase.

Good Journey's first stakes win came over a Hollywood Park bog listed "good," and he finished third in the BC Mile at Arlington, run on "yielding" turf.

To win the Kilroe under Pat Day, Good Journey must rally from midpack in a 12-horse field. His main rivals include Grade 1 winner Redattore, Grade 2 winner Decarchy, European import Smirk, and the 2002 Kilroe winner, Seinne. The rest enter with less impressive credentials, though few can be dismissed altogether. The longshots include Music's Storm, Cayoke, Kachamandi, Western Pride, and the entry of Alyzig and Night Life.

Although Good Journey is the class of the Kilroe, Dollase admits to "not going in with the ideal situation." Beyond conceding at least four pounds over a course sure to have some give in it, Good Journey missed a recent workout because of weather.

"I had a schedule, and kept to it until about 10 days ago, but I wanted to put one more work in him and I wasn't able to do it," Dollase said.

Dollase said Good Journey would have a limited racing schedule this year and will be retired as of June 1, six days after the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park. Should Good Journey misfire Saturday, Redattore would be the likeliest beneficiary. He returned from a six-month layoff Feb. 8 and won a classified allowance by 5 1/2 lengths for trainer Richard Mandella.

"It was a good prep race, and I would think he'd have to step it up a notch," Mandella said, adding, "I think he will."

Redattore, an 8-year-old bred in Brazil, has won 11 of 25, including the Grade 1 Eddie Read in 2001 at Del Mar. Redattore will be ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., and is being considered for the $6 million Dubai World Cup following the Kilroe.

The new shooter in the field is Smirk, who arrived from England early this week and looked good galloping over the turf course Thursday morning. Trainer David Elsworth said Smirk likes to be forwardly placed: "That's the way he runs. In his early days, he made all the running. I'm sure there will be plenty of pace."

Smirk will be ridden by Edgar Prado