08/12/2005 11:00PM

Bellamy Road gets down to business

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Bellamy Road, Carlos Correa up, hits Saratoga's main track Friday. He worked five furlongs on Saturday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - When trainer Nick Zito brings a horse to Saratoga's main track who had been training regularly on the Oklahoma training track, it means it's time to get serious. On Saturday, Bellamy Road was all business as he continued to work toward a return to the races.

Bellamy Road, the beaten Kentucky Derby favorite, cruised through a five-furlong workout in 1:00.27 Saturday morning over a main track turned sloppy by overnight rains. Exercise rider Maxine Correa was up for the move, the fastest by almost two seconds of seven works at the distance.

Breaking from the half-mile pole on a freshly harrowed wet surface, Bellamy Road was timed in fractional splits of 11.46, 22.82, 34.93, and 47.46 seconds. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.15.

Bellamy Road, who has not run since finishing seventh in the Kentucky Derby on May 7, is likely to return in the Grade 1 King's Bishop on Aug. 27 at seven furlongs. Zito has not ruled out the $1 million Travers the same day, but said Bellamy Road probably won't run in that 1 1/4-mile race. Zito will discuss the options with owner George Steinbrenner and his racing advisers this week.

"I'd rather think about it next weekend, to be honest with you," said Zito, who plans to work Bellamy Road over the main track again next Saturday.

In reference to the Travers, Zito said: "My main thing is, where do you go from there? Mr. George Steinbrenner tells me to leave your options open. At least we got a whole week to talk about it. Thank God he's doing extremely well. It's a pleasure to train a horse like him."

The allure of the Travers is that without Afleet Alex the race is not coming up overly strong. The King's Bishop, however, features the undefeated 3-year-old sprinter Lost in the Fog. Still, Zito said he's not worried about the competition.

"There's no competition to that horse," Zito said, referring to Bellamy Road. "In other words, when that horse is right he runs with anybody. It's the training of the horse, it's what I got to do. What's the difference who he runs against - right or wrong?''

Noble Causeway having chip removed

Noble Causeway, the subject of much controversy this meet, will have a chip the size of a pea removed from his left front ankle on Monday, Zito said. Zito added that Dr. Larry Bramlage, the veterinarian who found the chip, also detected a minor issue with the suspensory ligament in the colt's right foreleg.

"He has no stress fractures," Zito said. "Dr. Bramlage found a little pebble in his left ankle and found something in his right-side suspensory. Monday, we're going to take out the pea or pebble in his left ankle, and he's going to treat the right suspensory. He'll need two weeks in the stall, three weeks hand-walking, and he'll be back on the track in six weeks."

Noble Causeway could return to the races later this year.

On July 31, jockey Jerry Bailey scratched Noble Causeway at the gate before the Jim Dandy. Zito entered the colt back one week later in a second-level allowance race, and jockey Ramon Dominguez pulled him up a quarter of a mile into the race.

Zito believes Noble Causeway could have injured himself when he was checked hard in the early stages of the Kentucky Derby. Noble Causeway finished 14th in the Derby and ran back in the Preakness, where he finished sixth.

Ready and Alluring points to Alabama

The defections of Grade 1 winners Smuggler and Summerly from Saturday's $750,000 Alabama have prompted trainer Randy Schulhofer to alter course and point the Canadian-bred filly Ready and Alluring to the Grade 1 race here.

Schulhofer had planned to ship Ready and Alluring to the $125,000 Eternal Search Stakes at Woodbine on Aug. 31.

"The loss of those two horses and running right here," Schulhofer said when asked why he changed his mind. "She's doing awful good; we're just going to take a shot."

On Friday, Ready and Alluring worked five furlongs in 1:01.91 over Saratoga's main track.

A field of six to eight is likely for the Alabama, run at 1 1/4 miles. The expected starters are For All We Know, R Lady Joy, Ready and Alluring, Sis City, Spun Sugar, and Sweet Symphony. Dance Away Capote and Seeking the Ante are possible.

Laurafina done for the year

Laurafina, who finished sixth as the 8-5 favorite in the Lake George, is out for the year with a soft-tissue injury to a front leg, trainer Robert Barbara said. Barbara said Laurafina would be pointed to a 4-year-old campaign.

"There's no hole in the tendon, we're just going to back away," Barbara said. "She's not done yet."

Barbara deduced the injury probably came in midstretch of the Lake George when "I saw her head go down and her stride shorten," he said. "I was totally taken back by her effort. As good as she trained here, as good as she was doing, I was very disappointed with the result. The next morning there was some filling in the sheath area."