08/22/2006 11:00PM

Bernardini in post 5 of 7 in Travers


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Preakness and Jim Dandy winner Bernardini drew post 5 and was installed as the even-money favorite by New York Racing Association linemaker Eric Donovan for Saturday's $1 million at Saratoga.

The field expanded to seven horses when trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. surprisingly put in Kip Deville, the beaten favorite in the Virginia Derby on turf last time out. Kip Deville, worked five furlongs in a bullet 59.14 seconds Wednesday morning over Saratoga's main track.

"If Bernardini runs and [Bluegrass Cat] runs I'm sure that we're not going to run, but at least we got a chance to look at it and see,'' said Dutrow. "My hope was that the track would come up sloppy and my horse would like it, and maybe if it does [rain] we'll still take a chance to run.''

According to The Weather Channel, there is a 30 percent chance of showers on Saturday.

Between his victories in the Preakness and Jim Dandy, Bernardini has shown that it doesn't matter if the track is dry or wet, or if the pace is fast or slow. He won the Preakness on a dry track, from off the pace. He won the Jim Dandy on a sloppy track in gate-to-wire fashion. By drawing post 5 - and provided Kip Deville doesn't run - Bernardini has all the speed inside of him.

"I'm not going to be too worried about it,'' said Tom Albertrani, Bernardini's trainer. "Bernardini, he's very versatile; we could take him back as we did in the Preakness. We could use him a little bit if we wanted to, but we're not going to pin down Javier [Castellano] to instructions. We're just going to let the horse do what he wants to do.''

Bluegrass Cat won the Haskell from post 9 in a nine-horse field. The Monmouth Park track, however, favored horses on the outside that day.

In addition to Bluegrass Cat, trainer Todd Pletcher will also saddle the speedy High Cotton, who breaks from post 4.

Trainer John Ward's pair of Minister's Bid and Dr. Pleasure, the second- and fourth-place finishers in the Jim Dandy, drew post 2 and 3, respectively. Ward said he does not want to see either one part of the early pace.

Hesanoldsalt will be a longshot for Nick Zito and breaks from the rail.