09/24/2004 11:00PM

QE II yields BC Mile starters

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Edward Whitake
Rakti (left) wins Saturday's Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II over Lucky Story and Refuse to Bend.

ASCOT, England - Ascot specialist Rakti could be headed to the Breeders' Cup Mile after a hard-earned half-length victory over longshot Lucky Story in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Saturday.

Godolphin-owned Refuse to Bend, who finished third, will be coming to Lone Star Park for the Mile, as well, but plans for Soviet Song, sixth as the 5-2 favorite in the $450,000 Group 1 mile, were up in the air on a day when showers failed to dampen a course labeled good to firm.

"Rakti is owned by Gary Tanaka, who has a number of racing interests in America," said winning trainer Michael Jarvis. "But he would have to be supplemented for $120,000, so we always have the Champion Stakes as an option."

The Champion, at 1 1/4 miles, will be run at Newmarket on Oct. 23.

Winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, Rakti tracked the pace set by Blatant before quickening to lead at the quarter pole under Philip Robinson. Winner of the Champion Stakes last year, Rakti covered the mile in 1:39.82.

Should a trip to Lone Star Park fail to pan out for Rakti, a Polish Precedent 5-year-old, Jarvis could send him to Japan for a Grade 1 mile in November as a prep for the Hong Kong Cup, a race in which he finished second to Falbrav last year.

Lucky Story will head to Newmarket for the Champion Stakes, but Soviet Song's trainer, James Fanshawe, said he felt that his four-time Group 1 winner had run "one race too many."

Ace, an undefeated son of Danehill trained by Aidan O'Brien, found the step up to Group 1 company too steep. He had no finishing kick and came home fifth, 7 3/4 lengths behind the winner.

British bookmakers Coral still rate Six Perfections the 5-1 favorite for the Breeders' Cup Mile. They also offer Rakti and Special Ring at 7-1, Whipper at 9-1 and Bayamo at 10-1, and Refuse to Bend, Blackdoun, Soaring Free, and Perfect Soul all at 12-1.

Playful Act wires Fillies Mile

Playful Act warned the world that she will be a serious stayer next year with a brave front-running victory in the Group 1 Fillies Mile. By Sadler's Wells, she is from a stamina-laden family that includes recent group winners Echoes in Eternity and Percussionist.

Jockey Jimmy Fortune put Playful Act, the 5-2 second choice, on the lead right from the start and never looked back. She crossed the line a length in front of Maids Causeway, a daughter of Giant's Causeway whom Playful Act had beaten into third by three-quarters of a length last time in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes. The winning time was 1:42.22.

Playful Act will face nothing but the best next season.

"She will go straight to the 1000 Guineas and then to the English Oaks," said trainer John Gosden. "I wouldn't muck about with any other races."

Perfectperformance takes Royal Lodge

Odds-on favorite Perfectperformance won the one-mile Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, 1 1/2 lengths in front of the 8-1 Scandinavia. Those two had the race to themselves through the final furlong, with Perfectperformance, ridden by Frankie Dettori, proving too tough for Scandinavia.

A one-mile listed winner in his last start at Salisbury, Perfectperformance, who is owned by Godolphin, covered the uphill mile in 1:41.89.

Winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor said, "I think a mile is the best trip for him this year, but next year it's likely that he'll race at a mile and a half."

- With Ascot closing after Sunday's meeting until June while a new grandstand is built, souvenirs of the historic racecourse are at a premium. Dettori, who rode all seven winners here on Queen Elizabeth II Stakes day in 1996, was awarded a special prize Saturday, when he was given the first-place pole that stands in the winners' enclosure.