08/19/2008 12:00AM

Winchester targets BC Turf


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The trip Winchester got scoring a 7 1/4-length win in the Secretariat Stakes here at Arlington on Aug. 9 was much cleaner than the one he had going home to Ireland. But after a two-day journey, Winchester arrived back at Rosewell House, trainer Dermot Weld's training yard in County Kildare, without incident, and Weld confirmed Tuesday that a return trip to the United States for the Breeders' Cup Turf is being planned for Winchester this fall.

On his way to Arlington, Winchester simply flew from Dublin to Paris, then from Paris to Chicago. But his trip home went through Scotland, then on to England, and finally back to Ireland traveling by ferry.

"Mine have to go economy," Weld said. "We have to go where we can do it the most cost-effective way."

The intricate itinerary aside, Winchester "shipped home perfect," Weld said, and "was out on the gallops training this morning."

"We weigh our horses all the time, and he's put all his weight back on," Weld said.

The Secretariat is contested at 1 1/4 miles, and Weld is not completely sold on Winchester being a 1 1/2-mile horse but he is willing to try the distance a over a tight, fast-playing course at Santa Anita in the BC Turf.

"We'll either go straight to the Breeders' Cup, or we'll look at a prep race for him about three weeks beforehand," Weld said.

Winchester would not face top competition in his prep, and Weld said he would prefer a race at nine or 10 furlongs.

"The reason for having just one race is that I want to keep him fresh," Weld said.

In France, the connections of Million winner Spirit One have not ruled out a trip to the Breeders' Cup, but Spirit One may be even more questionable at 1 1/2 miles, and rather than the Turf, he would be aimed at the BC Classic, though entry in the race would cost his owner $450,000 in supplemental fees. Spirit One also is under consideration for the 2,000-meter Hong Kong Cup in December.

Silverfoot stays at Arlington

Eight-year-old Silverfoot has remained at Arlington following his fine fourth-place finish in the Million and will make his next start either in the $750,000 Northern Dancer Turf on Sept. 7 at Woodbine or at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 30 in the $200,000 Kentucky Cup Turf, a race Silverfoot won by almost seven lengths in 2005.

More a 1 1/2-mile horse, Silverfoot got into some trouble in the Million that might have prevented him from finishing even closer to the top pair, Spirit One and Archipenko.

"He had some traffic problems, and Rene [Douglas] thought things should've gone a little different for him," trainer Dallas Stewart said. "He finished up strong."

Silverfoot didn't race for 14 months, but Stewart maintains the horse "never really got hurt" and merely had to battle through aggravating minor problems. He didn't finish better than fourth in his first six starts after making it back to the races in January, leading to thoughts of retirement, but Silverfoot broke through with a win in the Stars and Stripes Handicap, and his effort in the Million compares favorably with the best performances of his career.

"I think he's as good now as he ever was," Stewart said, "and that's why I didn't want to retire him."

Douglas serving three-day suspension

Douglas has a 94-59 lead in the Arlington jockey standings, and a three-day suspension this week won't cost him his sixth riding title here. Douglas received the ban after being disqualified from second to fifth for a bumping incident in the seventh race Aug. 13. He will sit out Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before returning to action Saturday. Sunday, Douglas is booked to ride Lewis Michael in the Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar.

Riders in Chicago have the option of paying a $1,500 fine in lieu of a three-day suspension, but only for their first offense during a meet. Douglas paid the fine rather than taking days when a ruling was issued against him earlier this meet.