09/22/2005 11:00PM

Oratorio considered for BC Classic start

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Oratorio, a two-time Group 1 winner in Europe going 1 1/4 miles this summer, is being considered for the Breeders' Cup Classic, according to a story Friday on the Racing Post website.

While trainer Aidan O'Brien said that the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket on Oct. 15 was still Oratorio's intended target, he was also thinking about entering his 3-year-old son of Danehill in the Classic two weeks later. In his two most recent starts, Oratorio has taken the measure of the Epsom Derby winner, Motivator, in the Eclipse Stakes and in the Irish Champion Stakes.

One of the horses who was beaten by Oratorio in the Irish Champion, Azamour, has been withdrawn from next Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and will now head directly to Belmont Park for the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Owned by the Aga Khan and trained by John Oxx, Azamour won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, but suffered a slight injury finishing fifth in the Irish Champion on Sept. 10. Although the horse has recovered from that setback, Oxx said he felt that there was not enough time to get him ready for the Arc.

The Aga Khan still has Shawanda, his Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained winner of both the Irish Oaks and the Prix Vermeille, to represent him in the Arc.

With Azamour out of the race, Ladbrokes's current odds for the Arc are: Hurricane Run 5-2, Shawanda 3-1, Motivator 7-2, Bago 7-1, Scorpion 10-1.