06/20/2005 11:00PM

Afleet Alex at home on Belmont backside


ELMONT, N.Y. - Afleet Alex has comfortably settled into summer quarters in Barn 18 at Belmont Park.

It's a somewhat secluded corner that fronts a nice patch of grazing grass, perfect for some peace and quiet following the Triple Crown madness.

Trainer Tim Ritchey was due to arrive from Delaware Park on Wednesday morning to check on Afleet Alex.

While Ritchey has been tending to his main string at Delaware, Afleet Alex is being pampered here by assistant trainer Roque Romero.

The two are largely inseparable.

"I'm with him all the time," Romero said. "Ever since he started to run as a 2-year-old. He's a nice horse to take care of."

Romero, who has worked for Ritchey for 13 years, said Afleet Alex has trained well since the Belmont. Sometimes a Triple Crown run takes a toll on a horse but Romero said Afleet Alex is "very fit."

"He has a lot of energy," Romero said.

One key to Afleet Alex's success is that nothing seems to bother him. Not loud music at night from local bars when he ran at Saratoga at 2. Not Scrappy T in the Preakness.

"He's always the same," Romero said. "He's a quiet horse, even as a 2-year-old."

Afleet Alex has resumed his two-a-day morning gallops as cooler weather has come into the area. He goes out only once in hot weather.

After the Triple Crown, Ritchey said that the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 7 will be Afleet Alex's next race.

Ritchey will eventually have about 15 horses at Belmont. Seven are due to arrive this week.

Summerly aiming for Mother Goose

Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly will be one of top contenders Saturday at Belmont in the Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Summerly, who missed a start in the Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs due to quarantine restrictions, arrived at Belmont on Sunday.

"That's all behind us," said Toby Sheets, Steve Asmussen's assistant trainer in New York. "We're looking forward to the future."

Summerly has not raced since her front-running win in the Kentucky Oaks, which improved her record to 4 wins in 5 starts this year.

Summerly tuned up for the Mother Goose on Tuesday at Belmont with a four-furlong work in 47.43 seconds, the fastest of the 40 at the distance.

"We're looking forward to the race," Sheets said.

Other Mother Goose contenders include: Smuggler and In the Gold, the second- and third-place finishers in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes; Black-Eyed Susan winner Spun Sugar; and Winning Season, a recent allowance winner at Belmont for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Sense of Style will not run in the Mother Goose. Trainer Patrick Biancone decided to point Sense of Style instead to Belmont's Grade 1 Prioress on July 9.

The attraction: six furlongs. "She does not have enough stamina," Biancone said. "When we start to run longer, she does not run as good."

Winner of the Grade 1 Matron Stakes at Belmont last year, Sense of Style made her 2005 debut on June 4 in the Revidere Stakes at Monmouth. She lost by a nose to Bayou Breeze after a prolonged stretch battle.