11/11/2004 1:00AM

Pace yet to take shape in Schaefer


Saturday's $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Mile at Hoosier Park will pose more than a few questions for handicappers when a prospective field of seven takes the track for the meet's only open-company stakes for older horses.

The best-known horses in the field are Freefourinternet, upset winner of the Hawthorne Gold Cup who returns two weeks after finishing last in the Breeders' Cup Classic, and Coach Jimi Lee, who is coming off a money-won allowance victory at Keeneland.

The early pace of the Schaefer is extremely important but difficult to determine as the locally based sprinter Mr. Mink is cross-entered in the Schaefer and the To Much Coffee Stakes for Indiana-breds on Sunday. If he runs in the Schaefer, he would appear to be the lone speed. The distance is a question, but Mr. Mink was up to the task last year against statebreds and against lesser overnight handicap foes at Fairmount Park this summer. Jeff Johnston will be in to ride from post 7.

Should Mr. Mink defect to Sunday's race, Perfect Cut, trained by Rusty Arnold, inherits the role of pacesetter. He is coming off a money-won allowance victory at Turfway Park on Oct. 2 and has Bill Troilo named to ride from post 1.

Added Edge might get the best trip no matter how the pace plays out. Trained by Dale Romans, Added Edge was third in the Turfway Park Fall Championship and before that took the Governors Handicap at Ellis Park. He has a stalking style from just off the pace that should prove effective. Leading rider Ramsey Zimmerman has the call from post 2.

Stormy Impact, Kodema, Coach Jimi Lee, and Freefourinternet should all be coming from off the pace as well.

Stormy Impact has been off since September after a pair of tiring efforts at Arlington and Kentucky Downs. Perry Compton has the ride from post 6 for trainer Frank Kirby. Kodema has not raced since his second to Stormy Impact in the Omaha Handicap at Horsemen's Park last July. Jose Martinez will ride from post 8.

Coach Jimi Lee, with Carlos Marquez aboard, will start from post 5, and Freefourinternet, with John McKee aboard, will start from post 3.

The Schaefer Mile is the third race on a 13-race card and is preceded by the Frances Slocum Stakes for older Indiana-bred fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. Ellens Lucky Star should be favored to defend her title in the Slocum, the second race on the card.