Updated on 09/17/2011 5:38PM

Led by Six Perfections, European contenders taking shape


With the major American preps for the Breeders' Cup Mile still a weekend away, the most significant latest developments about the $1.5 million race center on happenings in Europe, notably the fallout from the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last Saturday at Ascot in England.

Rakti, the QEII winner, appears doubtful to be supplemented for $135,000 to the Mile, although with owner Gary Tanaka being a sporting man, a roll of the dice is not out of the question. Trainer Michael Jarvis said this week that a decision has yet to be made on whether Rakti, a 5-year-old by Polish Precedent, will run next in the Mile, the Oct. 23 Champion Stakes at Newmarket, or in Japan in November.

Breeders' Cup plans were more definite for two notables who finished behind Rakti in the QEII. Third-place finisher Refuse to Bend, owned by Godolphin, is expected to ship, while Soviet Song, sixth as the favorite, will not.

Defending Mile champion Six Perfections, who is currently listed as the 5-1 Mile favorite with British bookmaker Coral, skipped the QEII and will use a schedule identical to last year. Six Perfections, trained in France by Pascal Bary, will ship to Texas off a runner-up finish in the Jacques le Marois on Aug. 15.

Three other highly regarded Europeans are among the current top 10 in Daily Racing Form's weekly BC ratings countdown: Grey Lilas, Diamond Green, and Whipper.

Meanwhile, the large pool of North American hopefuls figures to be narrowed considerably on Oct. 9, when three major Mile preps will be run: the Kelso BC Handicap at Belmont, the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland, and the Oak Tree BC Mile at Santa Anita.

Maybe the most intriguing of the three will be the Oak Tree BC, for which trainer Julio Canani is considering Blackdoun and Special Ring.

Blackdoun, a gray 3-year-old colt, is unbeaten in three starts since coming to the U.S. from France this spring. He made a tremendous run from 10th and last to win his last race, the Sept. 6 Del Mar Derby at 1 1/8 miles.

Blackdoun tuned up for the Oak Tree BC by working five furlongs in 1:03, handily, Wednesday over a firm Santa Anita turf.

"This is a horse that doesn't need too much training," said Canani. "He's doing great." In regard to turning back to a mile, Canani said: "He looks like a miler to me."

Special Ring, a 7-year-old gelding, is less definite to run in the Oak Tree BC, said Canani. In his only start since an eighth-place finish in the BC Mile last year, Special Ring went wire to wire in winning the Grade 1 Eddie Read at Del Mar on July 25. Canani said Special Ring has been training "unbelievable."

The Shadwell Mile could turn into a Canadian showdown between Soaring Free and Perfect Soul, the one-two finishers in the recent Atto Mile at Woodbine.

Mile Contenders
3-year-olds & up, 1 mile (turf). Purse: $1.5 million.

1Grey LilasA. Fabre8-1
Europeans commit to the Cup after Arc weekend; she'd be a top threat
2Six PerfectionsP. Bary5-1
Sensational winning this last year; doesn't seem the same this year
3Special RingJ. Canani6-1
On his day, he is still the best in this country going a mile on the turf
4RaktiM. Jarvis6-1
May be supplemented for $120K after his Queen Elizabeth II win
5Diamond GreenA. Fabre12-1
Very sharp finishing second to Grey Lilas in the Prix du Moulin
6Refuse To BendS. bin Suroor8-1
Third behind Rakti in the QE II, and is a very likely starter here
7WhipperR. Collet10-1
Beaten favorite in the Prix du Moulin has been pointing to this race
8SingletaryD. Chaltos Jr.10-1
Ran some strong races at this distance earlier this year in California
9Nothing to LoseR. Frankel15-1
Proved in the Fourstardave that he is best making one big late run
10Silver TreeW. Mott15-1
There is very little to choose between him and Nothing to Lose

- The top 10 contenders for each of the eight Breeders' Cup races are ranked by Mike Watchmaker, who set the odds and wrote the comments. Actual Breeders' Cup fields will have up to 14 starters.