10/26/2004 11:00PM

Poor posts for several contenders


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - All 14 pills were used, and still, no relief. The handicapping headache that always seems to surface in the Breeders' Cup Mile is once again a reality in 2004, as no clear-cut favorite and more than a handful of contenders turned up at the post-position draw Wednesday at Lone Star Park.

Nothing to Lose seems to be the closest that any Mile starter will come to being a favorite, and he figures somewhere in the range of 4-1, a number that speaks volumes about the competitive depth of the 21st Mile. Post positions, which tend to mean more in the Mile than most other BC events because of the race configuration, further complicate the handicapping puzzle: Mr O'Brien, winner of the Kelso BC Mile in his last start, drew the dreaded 14-hole, while major contenders Six Perfections (post 11), Nothing to Lose (post 12), and Blackdoun (post 13) also drew unfavorably.

Trainer Robin Graham, who has her first BC starter, downplayed the effect of post 14 on Mr O'Brien.

"He sits off the pace anyway," she said. "This way, he'll just let the speed go, and he shouldn't have any trouble from there."

Trainer Julio Canani, who will saddle Blackdoun and Special Ring (post 3), said he wished he could switch the posts for his horses.

"Special Ring has the speed to use from the outside," said Canani, the Peruvian trainer who already has won the Mile twice, with Silic (1999) and Val Royal (2001). "But it probably doesn't matter. Both my Mile winners broke from the 12-hole."

The European element once again is prominent in the Mile. Six Perfections, the French filly who captured the Mile last year at Santa Anita as a 3-year-old, is one of four horses to represent the foreign contingent. Whipper, who drew the inside post for French trainer Robert Collet, is another top contender, while Antonius Pius (post 7) and Diamond Green (post 8) round out the European foursome as fringe players.

One of the multitude of possibilities for an upset is Musical Chimes (post 9), a 4-year-old filly who defeated males in winning the Oak Tree BC Mile in her last start. Trainer Neil Drysdale vacillated between whether or not to run the filly in the Mile, but ultimately it was decided that she was training well enough to merit shipping her here Wednesday from California.

Another California horse with upset designs is Singletary (post 10), whose trainer, Don Chatlos, has his first BC starter. Singletary, named for the former Chicago Bears linebacker Mike Singletary, was third behind Musical Chimes in a tight three-horse photo in his last start, the Oak Tree BC.

Two horses were 9-percent supplemental entries to the Mile: Blackdoun and Mr O'Brien. Those added monies bring the total purse to $1,680,000, assuming both start.

Mile (Grade 1) 1 mile, turf Purse: $1,680,000

3Special RingJ. CananiOn his day, he is certainly good enough to win6-1
1WhipperR. ColletBeat Six Perfections two back; he is capable8-1
11Six PerfectionsP. BaryLast year's winner has had shaky 4yo season5-1
12Nothing to LoseR. FrankelDon't touch, he'll burn you; he is white hot4-1
6Artie SchillerJ. JerkensOnly loss in last six starts was to Kitten's Joy10-1
14Mr O'BrienR. GrahamPost hurts a potential dark horse candidate12-1
10SingletaryD. Chatlos Jr.Lost ground every step of the Oak Tree Mile15-1
13BlackdounJ. CananiQuestion the 3yos he defeated at Del Mar12-1
8Diamond GreenA. FabreHas too many seconds, and too few wins15-1
2Silver TreeW. MottWas close to Nothing to Lose not long ago15-1
9Musical ChimesN. DrysdaleIndecision over her start wasn't encouraging15-1
7Antonius PiusA. O'BrienInconsistent, but has two big thirds this year 30-1
4Soaring FreeM. FrostadWon Atto Mile, but that was a suspect race12-1
5Domestic DisputeP. GallagherStrange spot for one who is 0 for 1 on turf30-1

- Listed purses do not include supplemental fees
- Odds and commentary by Mike Watchmaker.