10/26/2004 11:00PM

Sun King in position to stalk


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - With only eight horses in the field, the post position draw for the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile wasn't that critical.

Still, Nick Zito, the trainer of Sun King, and Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Proud Accolade, both said the posts their horses drew will help them get the trip their trainers desire in the 1 1/16-mile race.

Sun King, who finished third in the Champagne while pressing the pace from post 7, will break from the rail in the Juvenile. Zito said he would like to see jockey Edgar Prado take Sun King off the pace on Saturday and believes he is in the ideal spot to do just that.

"If he had [post] 8, Edgar would have to use him early and maybe get hung out a little bit,'' Zito said. "This might help get him covered up and get him to run his race."

Proud Accolade, who won the Champagne from post 8, will break from post 6 in the Juvenile.

"Excellent,'' said trainer Todd Pletcher on Wednesday from New York. "I prefer the outside. It seems like he's got good tactical speed and he can put himself in a nice stalking position."

Roman Ruler, the Norfolk winner, drew post 2 and was installed as the 8-5 favorite in the smallest Juvenile field since 1997. Trainer Bob Baffert said he believes how his horse breaks is more important than where he drew.

"There's a lot of speed horses in the race," Baffert said from California. "The break is the most important part. If you miss the break, you'll find yourself behind horses. He's handled that, though."

Roman Ruler and Proud Accolade both arrived in Texas on Wednesday.

Afleet Alex, the Hopeful winner, drew post 3, and Consolidator drew post 4. Those two, along with Roman Ruler, could be part of the early pace.

Baffert is taking the blinkers off Roman Ruler for this race in the hopes he will become less eager early.

"I feel good about it," Baffert said. "He looks good. He shipped well. Whoever shows up there, we're ready to roll. We just got to keep him happy the next couple of days, and when the gates open, root like hell."

Trainer Aidan O'Brien won the 2001 Juvenile with Johannesburg and finished third in the 2002 edition with Hold That Tiger. Saturday, he'll send out Scandinavia, who is a half-brother to 2002 Juvenile Fillies runner-up Composure. Scandinavia will break from post 5.

Scandinavia finished second in the Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot, a race in which he finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Wilko. Wilko will also make his dirt debut in the Juvenile after making the first 10 starts of his career on turf. Scandinavia drew post 5, and Wilko drew post 8.

Twice Unbridled, winless in two starts, drew post 7 and was made 50-1 on the track's morning line.

Juvenile (Grade 1) 1 1/16 miles Purse: $1,500,000

1Sun KingN. ZitoAt his best from off the pace; taken to upset6-1
6Proud AccoladeT. PletcherNice Champagne win, this is first two-turn try5-2
3Afleet AlexT. RitcheyRan a winning race in Champagne; big threat7-2
2Roman RulerB. BaffertCan't be rank, unfocused, like in his Norfolk2-1
4ConsolidatorD. W. LukasLet's see him run back to his big win at Kee6-1
5ScandinaviaA. O'BrienNever worse than second; dirt bred on top12-1
8WilkoJ. NosedaHad trouble in his third behind Scandinavia20-1
7Twice UnbridledD. JensenModest maiden is hopelessly up against it100-1

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