10/21/2003 11:00PM

Special Ring's post 6 ideal


ARCADIA, Calif. - The post position draw for Saturday's $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita produced its annual reactions of relief and disappointment on Wednesday.

Oasis Dream and Six Perfections, major stakes winners from Europe, were drawn in posts 10 and 13, farther outside than their connections wanted. Peace Rules, the speedy 3-year-old, drew the rail, while California stakes winners Designed for Luck and Special Ring were favorably drawn in posts 3 and 6.

Six Perfections, who beat males in the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, France, on Aug. 17, is the only 3-year-old filly in the field of 14. Alan Cooper, the racing manager for the Niarchos family, which owns Six Perfections, put a positive spin on the filly's draw, recalling that Lure won from post 12 in a field of 13 in the 1993 Breeders' Cup Mile over this course.

"This is the hand we've been dealt," Cooper said. "We're not going to be negative."

The Breeders' Cup Mile will be Six Perfections's first race around a left-handed turn. All but one of her races have been on a straight course, with the exception a two-length win in the Prix Marcel Boussac for 2-year-old fillies in October 2002.

Early Wednesday morning, Irish jockey Pat Smullen told friends that he wanted Refuse to Bend to be drawn between 1 and 6, which would help him to save ground. Smullen had a sense of relief on his face after the late-morning draw.

"Five is perfect for Refuse to Bend," Smullen said. "That's what we wanted. If I was farther wide, it would be next to impossible."

Refuse to Bend is widely considered a top 3-year-old from Europe, even though he has shown erratic form this year. He has won three stakes, including the English 2000 Guineas, but finished 11th in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp in Paris on Sept. 7. Trainer Dermot Weld insists that a slow early pace and a sprint to the finish worked against Refuse to Bend in that race. The Breeders' Cup Mile is likely to be run in opposite fashion.

Special Ring, the 4-1 morning-line favorite, is expected to be near the front. Julio Canani has won two Breeders' Cup Miles - with Silic in 1999 and Val Royal in 2001 - and has high expectations on Saturday.

Special Ring won the Eddie Read Handicap by five lengths at Del Mar on July 27, but was fourth as a heavy favorite behind Designed for Luck in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 5. Canani insists that jockey David Flores will have Special Ring closer to the front in the BC Mile than he did in the Oak Tree Mile, when he was five lengths off the pace to the final turn.

Canani said drawing post 6 was ideal, and will give Flores an opportunity to save ground into the first turn but still take a prominent position.

"David wanted 7; I told him, 'You got 6,' " Canani said. "The horse is doing super. He'll be on the bridle."