09/06/2007 12:00AM

Teuflesberg takes on older rivals

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When a 3-year-old makes his first start against older horses, he usually is taking what amounts to step up in class. And although the 56th running of the Grade 3 Turfway Fall Championship on Saturday is no easy spot, it still looks lighter than the kind of competition Teuflesberg has become accustomed to facing.

Assigned the outside post in a field of eight, Teuflesberg will be ridden by Robby Albarado when he starts as the likely favorite in the Turfway Championship, a $100,000 race run at one mile.

"We're not for sure to run, but it's a pretty sure deal," said Jamie Sanders, the trainer and co-owner of Teuflesberg, a Johannesburg colt with more than $620,000 in career earnings. "We're basically trying to point for the Breeders' Cup."

With his versatility and durability, Teuflesberg is a viable candidate for several different Breeders' Cup races, including the Dirt Mile on Oct. 26, or the Mile (grass) or Sprint on Oct. 27, said Sanders.

"If we run in this, we'd probably just wait for the Breeders' Cup," she said.

Teuflesberg has faced the likes of Street Sense and Curlin and would appear tough to beat Saturday if he can repeat one of his better efforts from 11 starts this year, including victories in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park and the Grade 2 Woody Stephens BC at Belmont Park. He comes off a fourth-place finish behind Hard Spun two weeks ago in the King's Bishop at Saratoga.

"The speed didn't come back to us that day," said Sanders. "He came out of the race even better than we expected."

His cast of challengers makes this a worthy test for Teuflesberg.

Istan, an easy winner of the Governor's Handicap last month at Ellis Park, looks like a solid second choice. Trained by Bill Mott, who enjoyed a banner Saratoga meet as leading trainer, Istan has tracking speed and breaks from post 1.

Other contenders include Gouldings Green, a multiple graded winner with a bankroll of more than $600,000, and Cielo Gold, a stretch runner making his first start since a dead-heat victory last fall in the Indiana Derby.

The balance of the field is Desert Wheat, Spotsgone, High Blues, and Barbican.