08/20/2005 12:00AM

Afleet Alex still unable to train


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The window of opportunity for Afleet Alex to make the Breeders' Cup appears to be closing.

After evaluating X-rays of Afleet Alex's condylar fracture in his left foreleg, Dr. Larry Bramlage said the Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner is not ready to do any more than walk the shed row for the next two weeks. His connections were hoping to begin walking him under tack later this week and return him to the track possibly the following week.

"He's healing, but he's not ready to step up his exercise yet," Bramlage said Saturday morning. "We're going to hold him back a couple of weeks and X-ray him again. He's doing okay; he's not ready to increase what he's doing now."

Afleet Alex has been walking his Saratoga shed row for as long as two hours a day. Afleet Alex had a screw surgically inserted into his left foreleg to stabilize the cannon bone on July 27.

Asked how this recent development affects Afleet Alex's chances to make the Breeders' Cup, Bramlage said, "If he doesn't make progress fast enough, he'll have to rearrange his schedule. It's too early to say one way or the other what's going to happen. All we can say is he's not ready to step up yet. He's still healing the fracture."

Tim Ritchey, the trainer of Afleet Alex, downgraded his 3-year-old's chances to make the Breeders' Cup, but did not totally rule it out.

"It looks less likely, but you never know," Ritchey said Saturday from Delaware Park. "Before, I said it was 80-20. Now it's 50-50, to be honest with you. If he can't make it, it's not the end of the world. The main goal is to get him healthy, get him sound. There's always the end of the year and next year."

Ritchey said the key to making it to the Breeders' Cup is how much fitness Afleet Alex retains between now and when he can resume training. Ritchey also said that Afleet Alex could be aimed at other Breeders' Cup races besides the Classic, such as the Mile, which is run on turf, or the Sprint.

Bellamy Road's work postponed

A wet racetrack created by overnight rain prompted trainer Nick Zito to postpone planned workouts for Bellamy Road and Andromeda's Hero. Both horses just galloped Saturday morning over the Oklahoma training track and were scheduled to breeze on Sunday.

Thus, a decision on whether Bellamy Road will run in the Travers or King's Bishop has not been made.

Meanwhile, Zito said that Corey Nakatani would ride Andromeda's Hero in the Travers. Nakatani rode him to a third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby, but was committed to ride Wilko in the Kentucky Derby. Rafael Bejarano, who rode Andromeda's Hero in the Derby, Belmont, and Jim Dandy, is injured.

"He has a world of confidence in the horse," Zito said, referring to Nakatani. "He asked to ride the horse. He got the horse into the Kentucky Derby."

As of Saturday, the Travers field, with riders, is: Andromeda's Hero (Nakatani), Chekhov (Gary Stevens), Don't Get Mad (Edgar Prado), Flower Alley (John Velazquez), Reverberate (Jose Santos), and Roman Ruler (Jerry Bailey).

Chekhov to gallop into Travers

While most of the Travers starters were to work on Monday or Tuesday, Chekhov will not have a workout between his fourth-place finish in the Haskell Invitational and the Travers.

"He's dead fit," trainer Patrick Biancone said. "He had an open gallop [on Friday], and for him it was nothing. For a mile and a quarter you need to be very fresh for the last half-mile. Fit he is. He's going to run better than the Haskell; I don't know if it's going to be good enough."

Chekhov, a $3.3 million son of Pulpit, has just a maiden win to his credit. He finished sixth in the Belmont and second in the Long Branch prior to the Haskell.

India to skip Spinaway

India, a 12-length maiden winner here on July 28, will not run in Friday's $250,000 Spinaway and instead will await the Grade 1, $300,000 Matron on Sept. 17 at Belmont Park.

"It gives her more time, but the main reason is that the Matron is a Grade 1 and the Spinaway is a Grade 2," Pletcher said.

Frank and Jane Lyon of Summer Wind Farm, the breeders of India, recently bought her privately from owner John Fort for $2.05 million.

* Reunited, prepping for Thursday's Victory Ride Stakes, worked five furlongs in 59.02 seconds Saturday over the sloppy main track. She was one of just three horses to work at Saratoga on Saturday.