06/12/2005 12:00AM

Afleet Alex to point for Haskell

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Jockey Jeremy Rose glances toward the infield timer as he and Afleet Alex cross the wire seven-length winners of the 137th Belmont Stakes on Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Afleet Alex, who left no doubt as to his superiority amongst this year's crop of 3-year-olds with his overpowering victory on Saturday in the , came out of the race well and will be pointed to the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Aug. 7 for his next start, his trainer, Tim Ritchey said Sunday morning at Belmont Park.

Ritchey said Afleet Alex "had his ears up and was right at the front of the stall to greet me this morning." He said Afleet Alex would remain at Belmont Park for at least the next four or five days, and then would either remain at Belmont Park awhile longer, or head to Monmouth Park. He will not join Ritchey's main string at Delaware Park. There has been an outbreak of strangles at Delaware, so shipping into there is not an option.

"He'll relax, but for him relaxing still means galloping a mile and a half," said Ritchey, who often trains Afleet Alex twice a day. "You can't completely stop with a horse like this. It's not healthy. He won't do anything strenuous."

Ritchey said Afleet Alex's schedule the rest of the year would initially be focused on races exclusively for 3-year-olds. He cited the Haskell, the Aug. 27 Travers at Saratoga, and the Oct. 1 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs as "races on our radar screen."

After that, Afleet Alex would be pointed to the Breeders' Cup, where he would potentially face a showdown with 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper in the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup Classic.

Ritchey emphasized that Afleet Alex will race next year at age 4, unless something unforeseen happens to his health. If any financial interest is sold in the immediate future, he said, it would be for breeding only. The current ownership group, the Cash is King Stable that is managed by Chuck Zacney, would control Afleet Alex's racing career through the end of 2006.

"He's going to run as a 4-year-old. Period, end of story," Ritchey said. "We've had about 15 farms call. One condition that will be in any contract is that we will sell the breeding rights, but he will run as a 4-year-old as long as he is healthy and sound. It's the right thing to do. The owners are having the time of their life, and I am too."

Andromeda's Hero, who finished second in the Belmont, will be pointed for major races of the summer, too, said his trainer, Nick Zito. He said he would "find somebody" for the Haskell from among his many 3-year-olds, but Zito said he had no specific runners in mind yet for the Haskell or the Travers.

"Whoever runs in the Travers will be the one that qualifies as number one in this barn," he said.

Giacomo, the Kentucky Derby winner, flipped his palate in the Belmont. He is scheduled to be shipped back to California. "He's going to get a break now," said his trainer, John Shirreffs.