10/15/2003 11:00PM

An overflow of international talent


ARCADIA, Calif. - Horses who have won stakes at nine tracks in North America and over five courses in Europe highlight an oversubscribed field for the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

The race drew 17 at Tuesday's pre-entry stage, but will have a limit of 14.

Decarchy, Freefourinternet, Irish Warrior, Peace Rules, Perfect Soul, Special Ring, and Touch of the Blues qualified on a points system based on their wins or placings in graded stakes in North America this year. With the exception of Decarchy, all are 2003 stakes winners.

A committee of racing executives met Wednesday and granted berths to Century City, Designed for Luck, Oasis Dream, Refuse to Bend, Sarafan, Six Perfections, and Soaring Free. All are stakes winners this year.

The committee omitted Statue of Liberty, Taste of Paradise, and Pie n Burger from the main list, ranking them in that order of preference. If a member of the first 14 is declared from the BC Mile, Statue of Liberty, who finished second in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, England, on July 30, would be the first included in the field.

The race lacks a strong favorite. Those who will be well backed include Oasis Dream, the winner of two Group 1 sprints in England this year; Special Ring, the winner of the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar in July; and Six Perfections, the star 3-year-old filly from France.

Special Ring and Designed for Luck have won major stakes in California this year. Special Ring set a course record over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Del Mar in the Eddie Read on July 27, but was only fourth behind Designed for Luck in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 5.

Julio Canani, who trains Special Ring, has not lost faith in his gelding. In the Oak Tree Mile, Special Ring did not take his customary position near the front, but closed from sixth to miss catching Designed for Luck by 2 1/4 lengths.

"One race is not a whole campaign," Canani said. "We tried to experiment with something and took a hold."

Although Canani was furious about the loss after the Oak Tree Mile, he is no longer upset at jockey David Flores.

"This rider gets along with him pretty good," he said.

The trainers of the two American-based horses that were not included in the main field have the $150,000 Seabiscuit Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on dirt on the Breeders' Cup card as an alternate race.

Cole Norman said that Pie n Burger would be sent to California next Tuesday even if it does not appear that he will be included in the Mile. A three-time stakes winner in the South this year, Pie n Burger has never won on turf. He finished ninth in the Louisiana Downs Handicap over yielding turf at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 21, a race Norman quickly dismissed.

"I know he'll be a longshot," Norman said. "I worked him on turf here and he worked very good. I ran him two weeks later and it rained all the night before."

Taste of Paradise, who has never started on turf, is trained at Santa Anita by John Sadler. Taste of Paradise won the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar in early August but is winless in his last two starts.

* Perfect Soul had his first work since his Shadwell Mile victory when he went a half-mile in 50.20 seconds Thursday at Keeneland. Perfect Soul, trained by Roger Attfield, went the first quarter-mile in 27 seconds and finished in 23.20.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee