11/02/2006 12:00AM

Mile analysis



World-class jockey Frankie Dettori chose Group 2 winner ECHO OF LIGHT over multiple Group 1 winner LIBRETTIST. It is a loud endorsement of Echo of Light, whose last two starts were romping overseas wins. He has speed to make his trip, and arrives on an upward arc in a race that lacks a star. ARAGORN is either overrated, or the beneficiary of a masterful training job by Neil Drysdale. Aragorn has won four straight, albeit against creampuff California competition. He might not be as good as his record. SILENT NAME looms the upsetter. Favored last out in a Grade 1 at Keeneland, he came unglued behind the gate and failed to produce his speed. But he still has his gas, and he will use it to full advantage here while tucking into a cozy trip right behind the pace. Bombs away. GORELLA and MIESQUE'S APPROVAL will roll late.


AUSSIE RULES came home much faster than par when he won the Grade 1 Shadwell at Keeneland in his first U.S. start. He should find an honest pace to chase here, and can mow this field down at overlaid odds if he lucks into a reasonable trip. GORELLA was stuck behind a slow pace and rallied to win a photo at Keeneland. She'll find more speed to chase, and should improve second time back from the sidelines. ARAAFA shows two wins and a second-place finish from his last three Group 1 races. He will be the one they will have to beat if he transfers that form to this course. ECHO OF LIGHT didn't run his race when he finished sixth of seven in the Group 1 Sussex three races ago. He was impressive in subsequent Group 3 and Group 2 wins, and deserves another chance, especially with double-digit odds likely.


ARAAFA was freshened after a spring/summer campaign that produced Group 1 wins on "good-firm" and heavy ground in England and Ireland, and responded by running his best race in terms of Timeform ratings though unable to stave off four-time Group 1 winner George Washington in the QE II. He has the tactical speed to make good use of post 3 in the crucial run to the first turn. ARAGORN drew in the middle of the field and is also handy enough to attain position, after merely being tuned up in the Oak Tree Mile by a measured length - the same prep Neil Drysdale used with '00 Mile winner War Chant. ROB ROY will be a generous price in typical competitive event, beat Araafa in the Sussex while giving him weight, and split two of Europe's best off a layoff in the Champion last out, his only start beyond a mile.


Except for a misfire two starts back in the Sussex Stakes, ARAAFA's recent form is excellent. He was clearly second best in George Washington's strongly run QE II Stakes, and he beat George Washington four starts back in the Irish 2000 Guineas. Aussie Rules's recent win in the Shadwell Mile was an indication of how favorably the European milers match up to the Americans, and Araafa is the sharpest European in this race. GORELLA had lots of trouble when a close third in this race last year, and, if anything, stakes wins in her last three starts suggests she is even better now. ARAGORN is America's most accomplished turf miler, but his last two wins were not of the same quality of his excellent score three back in the Eddie Read, and he probably won't get his accustomed hard footing.