10/09/2002 12:00AM

There's nothing like the Mile


ELMONT, N.Y. - Of all the Breeders' Cup races, the one that intrigues us the most, year in and year out, is the Mile. Because there is such a high requirement for speed to get a position and stamina to sustain a lively pace, a high level of class is essential for success in the division. We have in mind such two-time winners of the Mile as Miesque, Lure, and Da Hoss.

Breeders throughout the world generally concur, giving milers the edge as stallion prospects. Lyphard, a brilliant miler in Europe, followed his racing career with an exceptional record at stud. Among American breeders, few races are held in greater regard than the Metropolitan Mile at Belmont Park.

This year's Mile at Arlington Park promises to be special, if Rock of Gibraltar runs. He is Europe's finest, a winner of seven consecutive Group 1 features under the direction of his distinguished young trainer, Aiden O'Brien. O'Brien has indicated interest in nominating Rock of Gibraltar in both the Mile and the 1 1/4-mile Classic with a decision expected this weekend.

The latest addition to the list of Mile nominees is Green Fee, who, at 9-1 upset last weekend's Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont. He beat the hard-hitting favorite, Forbidden Apple, by half a length. Both came from off a brisk pace, rallying wide into the stretch. Forbidden Apple gained a brief lead but was unable to hold off the assertive finish of Green Fee, who was in receipt of eight pounds from the favorite.

"We were in the right place at the right time," trainer Dan Peitz said. "We got in the Kelso light, and he has always run well at Belmont. We would like to run Green Fee in the Breeders' Cup, but the Mile is usually over subscribed. We'll see what happens next week at the pre-entry."

Green Fee, by the Nijinsky stallion Green Dancer, is owned and was bred by Robert and Lawana Low, who operate a trucking company in Springfield, Mo.

The Lows bought their first horses in 1984 and one of the originals was a Rahy filly named Raska, acquired for $190,000.

"She was talented but had problems," Peitz recalled. "She never broke her maiden and was retired after four or five starts. Her first foal was Green Fee."

The Lows have about a dozen horses in training and have a broodmare band of 15 to supply the stable. Their best horse to date has been Capote Belle, winner of the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga in 1996. Trainer Peitz, who has been with them almost from day one, is a native of Little Rock, Ark. He was an assistant to Joe Cantey when such good ones as Temperence Hill and Cox's Ridge were in their prime. He took out a license in 1984 and invariably has a nice horse in the barn, such as Green Fee.

As for Forbidden Apple, trainer Chris Clement liked his race in the Kelso and hopes to run him back in the Breeders' Cup, for the third time. In 2000, when he was 5, he finished seventh, beaten only 2 1/2 lengths. Last year, when he was 6, he finished second to Val Royal, beaten less than two lengths. They say the third time is the charm.