08/23/2005 11:00PM

Bejarano beats the clock


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Jockey Rafael Bejarano, believed to be out for the remainder of the meet after suffering an ankle injury on Aug. 1, is slated to return to race-riding this weekend, said his agent, Joe Ferrer.

Bejarano is named to ride Storm Surge in Saturday's Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes here. It is his only mount on the 12-race card.

Bejarano was injured in a starting gate mishap, and was thought to have suffered a hairline fracture of his right ankle. Ferrer sent Bejarano to Kentucky to a specialist, who diagnosed the injury to the 23-year-old rider as pulled ligaments in the ankle. What was believed to be a new fracture was actually a previous fracture, Ferrer said.

Bejarano has been in Kentucky getting on horses in the morning at Churchill Downs and going to physical therapy in the afternoon. He was scheduled to do that through Friday and was to fly to Saratoga Friday night.

"He feels no pain,'' Ferrer said. "Thank God, it healed fast. When you're 23, it's so much easier.''

At the time of his injury, Bejarano was the fourth leading rider in the nation in purse money won ($8,364,014) and fifth in races won (174). He is still fourth in purse money, but is now tied for 10th in races won. At Saratoga, Bejarano was 3 for 35 through the first week.

Stellar Jayne works toward Ruffian start

Stellar Jayne, whose return to graded stakes company has been delayed by a hind-end problem, blitzed through five furlongs in 59.10 seconds Wednesday morning. She is being pointed to the Grade 1 Ruffian at Belmont Park on Sept. 11.

Under exercise rider Rachel Dore, Stellar Jayne went very quickly early but labored a little bit late in the work, which was the fastest of 22 at the distance.

"I would have liked to have seen her finish up a little better,'' said Richard Mettee, who is running Godolphin Racing's New York string. "They don't finish as quick as they did on that track at Belmont. We're still planning on running her in the Ruffian. We'll get to work her again next week.''

Stellar Jayne, who won the Mother Goose and Gazelle at Belmont last year, has only run once this year, taking a minor stakes at Belmont on July 2.

In the Ruffian, Stellar Jayne is likely to meet Society Selection, another multiple Grade 1-winning 3-year-old from last year. Despite a strong five-furlong workout earlier in the week, Society Selection will not run in Sunday's Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap here.

Society Selection has worked twice since finishing fourth in the Go for Wand Handicap here on July 30. She underwent throat surgery following that race. On Monday, she drilled five furlongs in 59.82 seconds over the main track.

"She worked faster than I thought she would, and she probably is fit enough, but that would be stretching it," trainer Allen Jerkens said of running Society Selection in the Ballerina. "We'll probably try the Ruffian and then the Beldame and see what happens.''

Closing Argument out indefinitely

Closing Argument, the Kentucky Derby runner-up, has been sent to a farm in Ocala, Fla., to be evaluated and will be sidelined indefinitely, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Wednesday.

McLaughlin said Closing Argument on Tuesday was sent to Sequel Farm, run by Becky Thomas, and "he's not going to run anytime soon.'' McLaughlin said that Closing Argument has a number of minor issues bothering him, including problems with a splint bone.

Closing Argument has not run since finishing ninth in the Preakness on May 21. He has worked only twice in the interim.

"I wasn't happy with how he came out of his last work,'' McLaughlin said. "He's not lame or anything. He's just not the same and moving great. We want to go over him good, so we'll give him a little freshening and see what we find with him.''

Naughty New Yorker wins Albany

Trainer Pat Kelly and jockey Jean-Luc Samyn picked a most opportune time to record their first wins of the meet, as Samyn guided Naughty New Yorker to a half-length victory over a stubborn Carminooch in Wednesday's $150,000 Albany Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds.

Samyn had been 0 for 43 at Saratoga before that race. Kelly had been 0 for 18.

Naughty New Yorker settled in the back of the pack while Blue Sunday set fractions of 23.50 seconds, 47.32, and 1:11.53 while being pressed by Gold and Roses. Naughty New Yorker launched his bid leaving the half-mile pole, rallied four wide turning for home, and prevailed in a stretch-long duel with Carminooch. It was nine lengths back to Gold and Roses in third.

Naughty New Yorker covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.88 and returned $9.40 to win.

Kelly was confident in Naughty New Yorker's ability to get the distance, but said: "The way the track's been playing, his style wasn't inspiring much confidence. He's a nice horse, he tries hard.''

Bellamy Road in Travers is great for business

Trainer Nick Zito's decision to run Bellamy Road in the Travers instead of the King's Bishop on Saturday was the right choice from a business standpoint in the eyes of New York Racing Association management.

"In terms of actual handle, it's much better for us that Bellamy Road will run in the Travers," said NYRA senior vice president Bill Nader. "The Travers does not have the same impact as the Belmont Stakes, which outhandled the other 12 races combined that day, but it still carries a lot of weight and is a very high-handle race. And having Bellamy Road in the lineup has turned what would have been a good six-horse field into a super seven and makes it into an even more attractive betting event than it would have been had he gone in the King's Bishop."

Nader acknowledged that a Bellamy Road-Lost in the Fog match up would have made the King's Bishop a much better race from a wagering standpoint. But Lost in the Fog's status as a 1-5, or even 1-9, favorite Saturday figures to have one positive effect on the handle.

"The King's Bishop is part of a pick-four wager, and a guaranteed single like Lost in the Fog should assure a much larger handle in that pool than we'd have normally expected," Nader said.

- Gary Stevens took off his last two mounts on Wednesday's card complaining of a wrenched back after he was unseated near the gate aboard North East Storm, his mount in the third race. North East Storm ran off and was scratched.

- Real Dandy, winner of the West Virginia Derby on Aug. 14, is being pointed to the Grade 2, $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 5.

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch