06/07/2006 11:00PM

Albertrani stable appears built to last

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Deputy Glitters, working at Belmont on Tuesday, will try to give trainer Tom Albertrani his second Triple Crown win in 2006. Albertrani won the Preakness with Bernardini.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Officials at the New York Racing Association may have been prescient when they decided to move Tom Albertrani from Barn 4 to Barn 10 at Belmont Park this spring.

Barn 10 is the former home of D. Wayne Lukas, the last trainer to win two Triple Crown races in the same year with different horses. Albertrani can equal that feat when he saddles Deputy Glitters in Saturday's $1 million .

Of course, many people didn't realize that Albertrani won the Preakness with Bernardini. Most of the coverage focused on Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner who suffered a career-ending hind leg injury a furlong into the Preakness. Meanwhile, Bernardini - whose name was misspelled as Bernadini on his saddlecloth and stall webbing at Pimlico - galloped to an impressive victory.

"It was definitely overshadowed with Barbaro's injury," Albertrani said. "Barbaro deserved to get the attention. He's a very good horse. Unfortunately, whenever you lose a horse like that he's going to get the attention. But, hopefully, Bernardini will go on and his day will come later on."

Albertrani, 48, was not able to relish his Preakness victory for long. Two days after the Preakness, Albertrani began serving a 15-day suspension for a medication violation that occurred in his New York barn in April while he was in Florida. Albertrani returned to work on Tuesday. Andy Rehm, who has worked for Albertrani for three years, ran the stable. Rehm, coincidentally, was a former assistant to Lukas.

"Naturally, after a big race like that you want to be around the barn," Albertrani said. "You know you have an important horse in the barn, and you don't want to be away at that particular time."

Albertrani is rapidly building a stable of important horses. Powered by Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable, Albertrani's barn has blossomed to 37 horses, including top 3-year-old sprinter Songster, the Grade 1-winning filly Balletto, and Deputy Glitters, who is owned by Joseph Lacombe. Just before the Preakness, Albertrani picked up some horses for a new client, Rick Porter, who has owned stakes winners Jostle, Rockport Harbor, and Round Pond.

"He is astutely observant of his horses," said Jim Bell, president of Darley USA. "I tend to hear from him, when we're discussing horses, as though the horses are talking to him. He really is observant in their body language."

Of course, all major decisions regarding Darley's horses are discussed among Bell, racing manager John Ferguson, and Sheikh Mohammed. But Albertrani's input is greatly heeded. It was Albertrani who felt Bernardini deserved a shot in the Preakness after beating just three horses in the Withers in his third career start.

"His enthusiasm could not be throttled back," Bell said. "He's a very low key, very quiet, reserved type of individual. I didn't know how good the horse was doing, but knowing how excited Tommy was, I had a pretty good idea."

"Once he broke his maiden and won the Withers, I was confident," Albertrani said. "I wouldn't say he would have beat Barbaro, but I know he would have made a race out of it. You hate to see a horse get injured, and I would not want to even predict what the outcome would have been, but I think it would have been a very good horse race."

Bernardini is being freshened for a summer campaign that is expected to include the $500,000 Jim Dandy on July 29 and the $1 million Travers Stakes on Aug. 26, both at Saratoga.

Before anyone had even heard of Bernardini, Albertrani was on the Triple Crown trail with Deputy Glitters. A son of Deputy Commander, Deputy Glitters finished second to Bluegrass Cat - the morning-line Belmont Stakes favorite - in the Sam F. Davis, before upsetting Bluegrass Cat in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Deputy Glitters finished sixth in the Wood Memorial, a race run over a sloppy track he obviously didn't like. He was sent off at 60-1 in the Kentucky Derby and finished eighth with a wide trip. After racing farther back than he had ever been before, Deputy Glitters was forced to rally 11 wide into the stretch. He finished eighth, beaten 5 1/2 lengths for third.

"We ended up going wide and losing all that ground, and he was finishing at the end," Albertrani said. "I thought he ran well considering the circumstances."

Albertrani said he believes an expected slower pace as well as the 1 1/2-mile distance of the Belmont should benefit Deputy Glitters, provided the race is run on a dry track. A jockey switch from Jose Lezcano to Edgar Prado, the former rider of Barbaro and a two-time Belmont Stakes winner, is also a plus. It is

likely that Deputy Glitters would scratch if the track remains as wet as it has been this week.

"I just feel he's in a race where he should be competitive," Albertrani said. "On his best, I feel he'll run a good race against this field. Distance-wise, I feel he'll go a mile and a half, where hopefully the other ones can't get that trip."

Given that he should be receiving well-bred 2-year-olds from Darley and others in the future, Albertrani is likely to make a few more trips down the Triple Crown trail.

"You can't do it without having the right horses," he said. "I'm very fortunate to have Darley supporting me. Through Darley I've made other connections. All my owners are very supportive. Hopefully, we can have the types of horses to compete in races like the Derby, the Preakness, the Belmont."