10/09/2007 11:00PM

Much uncertainty surrounds several prospects

EmailAnother round of Breeders' Cup Mile prep races, and the division still tilts toward the inscrutable.

Last Saturday's Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland produced a longshot winner, Purim, who also figures to be a bomb on Breeders' Cup Day. But at least he is going. The winner of last Sunday's Oak Tree Mile, Out of Control, is not expected to participate in the BC Mile.

Meanwhile, Nobiz Like Shobiz turned in a sensational performance winning Belmont's Lexington Stakes last Saturday, and after initially saying that Nobiz Like Shobiz would bypass the BC in favor of the Hollywood Derby, trainer Barclay Tag was mulling over a Mile run by mid-week.

Want more uncertainty? Look across the Atlantic. Mile possibles Jeremy and Tariq failed to run to expectations in last weekend's nominal Mile prep, the Prix de la Foret, while Irish invader Astronomer Royal was a flat sixth in the Shadwell. Astronomer Royal was said by trainer Aidan O'Brien last week to be one of three Mile candidates, and with George Washington mentioned as a potential starter in the Champion Stakes in England, O'Brien could be represented at Monmouth by Excellent Art.

Even Purim's trainer, Tom Proctor, said he was keeping his options open. Proctor said that Purim, who at odds of 20-1 won the Shadwell by a neck over Cosmonaut, had come out of the race in good physical condition. But he also said that Purim, who has proven dirt form, could be cross-entered in the Classic as a hedge against drawing an outside post in the Mile. Cosmonaut also will be considered for the Mile, but could be cross-entered in the BC Turf.

Turf or Mile also is the question facing After Market, who finished second last out in the Kelso, and Shakespeare, who could be the top U.S.-based horse pointing to the Mile. Shakespeare has yet to post a workout since winning the Sept. 16 Woodbine Mile, but trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said nothing was amiss.

"He has issues, and we don't work him very often," McLaughlin said. "We're pointing toward the first of the week for his work, and we'll see how fast he goes before we decide if he needs to breeze again."