09/24/2007 11:00PM

Beldame gets Ginger Punch

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - Bobby Frankel is still noncommittal about whether Ginger Punch will run in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, but on Tuesday the trainer jumped off the fence regarding this Sunday's Grade 1, $600,000 Beldame.

Ginger Punch is a go.

Frankel made his decision after he watched Ginger Punch cruise through a half-mile breeze in 47.64 seconds Tuesday morning over Belmont's main track. It was her first workout since she scored a three-quarter-length victory over Miss Shop in the Grade 1 Ruffian on Sept. 8.

"Right now it looks like we'll go in the Beldame,'' Frankel said. "It's tough to pass up $600,000 when you're 6-5.''

The Beldame, run at 1 1/8 miles, is shaping up to be a six-horse field. Also expected to run are Balance, Indian Vale, Miss Shop, Mo Cuishle, and Unbridled Belle.

Rafael Bejarano, the regular rider of Ginger Punch, was up for Tuesday's move, and after he got off the horse, he told Frankel, "Ready to run, Bobby.''

As far as the Breeders' Cup is concerned, Frankel echoed his previous concerns about drawing an outside post at Monmouth Park or the track coming up sloppy. Owner Frank Stronach would have to pay a $180,000 supplemental fee to run Ginger Punch in the Distaff.

Also, a victory in the Beldame could almost secure an Eclipse Award for Ginger Punch in the older filly and mare division. It would be her third Grade 1 stakes victory and her fourth graded stakes victory of the year. At that point, her only serious challenger for divisional honors would be Nashoba's Key, who heading into the fall is undefeated from six starts on turf and Polytrack. Nashoba's Key is likely staying on turf.

Teammate, Take D' Tour won't run

While Ginger Punch is in, Teammate and Take D' Tour are out of Sunday's Beldame, their connections said.

Trainer Allen Jerkens said Teammate has an injury to an ankle that will force her to miss the race. Jerkens said he didn't believe the injury to be serious, and said "if she comes around okay we might run her in the Spinster. If not, we'll probably send her home.''

The Grade 1, $500,000 Spinster will be run at Keeneland on Oct. 7

Trainer David Fawkes said Tuesday that Take D' Tour will simply train up to the Distaff, for which she will have to be supplemented at a cost of $180,000.

Teammate and Take D' Tour, finished third and fourth to Ginger Punch in the Ruffian.

Political Force on target for Gold Cup

Jerkens had better news about his top handicap horse Political Force, who breezed seven furlongs in 1:25.24 in preparation for Sunday's $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

"He went as nice as you could want him too,'' Jerkens said.

Political Force, who on June 30 won the Suburban over this track at the Gold Cup distance of 1 1/4 miles, will try to rebound off a fifth-place finish behind Lawyer Ron in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga on Sept. 1.

Jerkens said he had no plausible excuse for that result.

"I thought he was right for that race," he said. "He's done well, but like I say he was doing well up there too.''

Wait a While staying home

Trainer Todd Pletcher has his fingers crossed that Mother Nature remains kind to him. Pletcher has elected to keep Wait a While home for Saturday's $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational and he wants firm turf for his champion filly.

Pletcher had the option of shipping Wait a While to Southern California for Saturday's Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon - a race she won last year - where she would almost be guaranteed firm ground. But the last time Pletcher shipped Wait a While to Southern California was in July and she got sick and was forced to miss the CashCall Mile at Hollywood Park.

"So it makes me a little gun shy as far as shipping her out there again,'' Pletcher said. "She's here, she's doing well, she worked well over the course [Sunday]. I think unless we just get unlucky and it rains a lot that we should be okay.''

There is rain forecast for Thursday night into Friday, but there has hardly been any rain here since racing began on Sept. 7.

Pletcher said he would also cross-enter Matchmaker winner Roshani in the Flower Bowl and Friday night's Violet Handicap at the Meadowlands. `

"We'll see what the owners want to do,'' Pletcher said.

Also pointing to the Flower Bowl are Beverly D. winner Royal Highness, Garden City winner Alexander Tango, Dance Smartly winner Masseuse, Glens Falls winner Rosinka, and Diana runner-up Argentina.

English Colony commits to Kelso

After reeling off four consecutive victories, the 3-year-old English Colony will make his first foray into graded stakes company when he runs in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap.

English Colony, a ridgling son of Rock of Gibraltar, will not only face tougher company, he will be trying to stretch out to a mile. His four victories have come at seven furlongs or shorter, including a 2 3/4-length score in the Lights and Music Stakes here on Sept. 9.

"The way he won last time, I think he can handle the mile,'' trainer Angel Penna Jr. said. "I don't know if he can handle the competition, but there's not that many choices.''

In his only start at a distance of ground, English Colony finished 10th of 12 in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race at Gulfstream. Penna said English Colony suffered an entrapped epiglottis in that race and had surgery to repair the problem.

On Tuesday, English Colony worked five furlongs in 1:00.45 over the Belmont turf course. He worked in company with Stellar Night, who was given a time of 1:00.59.