10/25/2004 11:00PM

Six Perfections heads tough cast of Euros


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Perhaps the strongest contingent of European runners for this year's Breeders' Cup has collected within the confines of the Mile. Four of the 14 horses expected to start in the $1.5 million Mile are from Europe, most notably the defending champion, Six Perfections.

As of Monday evening, when a van transporting the 12 Euros scheduled to run in the Breeders' Cup on Saturday pulled into the Lone Star stable area, the entire cadre was present and accounted for. As per requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the horses were quarantined in Barn F1 on the eastern side of the stable area, where they were expected to remain until about 8 a.m. Central on Wednesday. After that, they will be released for training, pending satisfactory blood tests.

Besides Six Perfections, the other European horses expected to be entered Wednesday for the Mile are Whipper, Diamond Green, and Antonius Pius. Whipper, the winner of the Group 1 Jacques le Marois in August, is held in high esteem overseas, perhaps on a par with Six Perfections, who ran second to Whipper in the Marois. The other two Euros are less accomplished and figure to be longer prices on the tote board, although both come from highly reputable stables: Diamond Green is trained by Andre Fabre, and Antonius Pius is part of the vaunted Aidan O'Brien stable.

Six Perfections, a rallying winner of the Mile last year at Santa Anita, would make a nice piece of history for her French trainer, Pascal Bary, if she can prevail again. Only twice has a trainer won the same Breeders' Cup race three years in a row: D. Wayne Lukas in the Distaff (1985-87) and Juvenile (1986-88). Bary also won the Mile in 2002 with Domedriver.

Meanwhile, Artie Schiller, one of five 3-year-olds in the Mile, had his final tuneup when he breezed five furlongs in 59.80 seconds over a muddy main track Tuesday. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens originally had planned to work Artie Schiller over the turf on Wednesday, but following two inches of rain Monday, Jerkens changed his plan because the turf had been thoroughly soaked.

As to how the turf condition might affect the running of the race, Jerkens said: "It would have to favor the Europeans, I would think. They run on it a lot more than we do. My horse ran just once on it, in the Pilgrim, and got beat. But that was just the one time, so who knows."

Although most Mile starters had already arrived by Tuesday, two of the top contenders were scheduled to ship in the following day: Nothing to Lose from New York, and the Julio Canani-trained Special Ring.

Silver Tree, stabled at Churchill Downs, was among the last arrivals expected among all BC starters. The Bill Mott-trained colt was booked on a Thursday charter that also would carry Honor in War in the unlikely case that Honor in War draws into the Mile off the alternates list.