03/05/2005 1:00AM

Leroidesanimaux captures Kilroe Mile

Benoit Photo
Robert Frankel trained Leroidesanimaux and jockey Jon Court fly to the finish to win the Frank E. Kilroe Mile on Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Leroidesanimaux overcame a truncated workout schedule and benefited from the tough trips encountered by both Buckland Manor and Musical Chimes to score a front-running victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 at Santa Anita.

The Kilroe marked a long-anticipated meeting between the two best turf milers on the West Coast, Leroidesanimaux and Breeders' Cup Mile winner Singletary. But Singletary faded to finish seventh in the field of nine after sitting in a perfect spot, just outside the dueling leaders.

The public made the right decision on the favorite, sending Leroidesanimaux ($5) off at 3-2, with Singletary at 3-1.

Racing over a course rated good, Leroidesanimaux battled with Sweet Return through fractions of 22.52 seconds for the first quarter, 46.18 seconds for a half-mile, and 1:09.60 for six furlongs. Leroidesanimaux was always in front, but with those two moving along, and Singletary keeping pace to that point from the outside, both Buckland Manor and Musical Chimes became trapped in traffic on the inside.

As the field came down the stretch, Leroidesanimaux continued to fend off Sweet Return, while Buckland Manor and Musical Chimes tried desperately, and vainly, to find room. Buckland Manor finally got out with 100 yards to go, but Leroidesanimaux and jockey Jon Court held him safe to win by one length in 1:33.89.

Buckland Manor finished a length in front of Sweet Return, with Meteor Storm fourth and then Musical Chimes, who only missed third by a half-length.

The victory was the sixth straight for Leroidesanimaux, who was last seen winning the Grade 1 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park on Nov. 27. Because of recent wet weather, he had worked just once since Feb. 14.

"I was able to get that one good work into him," said Bobby Frankel, who trains Leroidesanimaux for Gonzalo Terrealba's Stud TNT. "I feel more comfortable running a short horse on turf. He's a very competitive horse. He just keeps sticking his neck out. He might be one of the better grass horses we've seen around here in awhile."

Rene Douglas, who rode Buckland Manor, said, "By the time I got a chance to come out it was too late."