10/19/2008 12:00AM

Top locals rest rather than prep


ARCADIA, Calif. - Theoretically, the Oak Tree Mile was the Southern California prep race for the Breeders' Cup Mile. The thing is, not a single horse that raced in the Oak Tree can be found among the 14 BC Mile pre-entries, a sign of the times, as trainers often gear up their horses for one big run off the bench.

Northern California-based longshot Bold Chieftain comes into the BC Mile off a second-place finish in the California Cup Mile on Oct.5, but the two SoCal turf milers, Whatsthescript and Daytona, haven't raced since the Aug. 24 Del Mar Mile.

"I think most of us believe the Mile is such a hard race, they do best with six or eight weeks' rest," said Daytona's trainer, Dan Hendricks. "The way the schedule is, it was run at Del Mar or prep four weeks out with the Oak Tree Mile. We just planned on training him up to this race."

In the Del Mar Mile, Daytona finished fourth, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Whatsthescript, whose trainer, John Sadler, also thought it wise to pass the Oak Tree Mile and come into the Breeders' Cup with a fresher horse.

"I didn't want to run him back in the Oak Tree Mile so close," Sadler said.

Whatsthescript has emerged as California's best middle-distance turf horse this summer, winning the American Handicap in June before finishing a close second in the Eddie Read and winning the Del Mar Mile with a flashy late run. The American Handicap was Whatsthescript's first start for Sadler, and his first race in six months. Whatsthescript, a 29-1 shot, raced near the back of the field, and came home with an extremely sharp burst, finishing his final furlong in not much more than 11 seconds. To Sadler, that move said, 'Breeders' Cup Mile.'

"When he ran so fast and so well, I thought we could win a very big race with him," Sadler said.

Whatsthescript, a 4-year-old Irish-bred son of Wild Applause, won his maiden in Ireland, and captured back-to-back stakes upon moving to California in the fall of 2006. He had just a three-start campaign last year at 3, winning a listed stakes here at Santa Anita in his best effort of the season. And while he has not raced recently, Whatsthescript has been training like crazy, most recently posting a seven-furlong main-track work here Saturday morning in 1:26.60.

Daytona, another Irish-bred 4-year-old, has kept a much busier racing schedule than Whatsthescript, with 11 starts last year at 3, and six more races this year. Between last October and this May, Daytona won six of seven races, all of them graded stakes, but he comes into the BC Mile after a sixth-place finish in the American and a fourth in the Del Mar Mile.

"His races have been spaced fairly well," Hendricks said. "He's a good fresh horse now."

Hyperbaric narrowly won the Oak Tree Mile over Tybalt on Oct. 5, but both horses are staying in their stalls Saturday afternoon. This year, for the SoCal contingent, fresher is presumed to be better.

Shakis tunes up at Keeneland

At Keeneland, BC Mile pre-entrant Shakis worked a half-mile on the main track Saturday in 47.60 seconds, second-fastest among 75 works at the distance.

Shakis, 8, the second-place finisher in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, has to be supplemented to the BC Mile at a cost of $180,000.