08/10/2006 11:00PM

Bernardini strong in first workout back

Bernardini works five furlongs in 1:03.48 under Simon Harris on Friday at Saratoga. The time wasn't fast, but he was kept wide off the rail.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - It has been two weeks since Preakness winner Bernardini crushed five rivals by nine lengths in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy. Afterward, trainer Tom Albertrani predicted his lightly raced 3-year-old would move forward off the effort.

All indications are that this is exactly what has happened.

In his first workout since the Jim Dandy, Bernardini cruised through five furlongs in 1:03.48 over Saratoga's main track in preparation for the $1 million Travers on Aug. 26. While not a fast move, it was done with relative ease.

Under exercise rider Simon Harris, Bernardini was clocked in fractions of 26.29 seconds and 38.49, meaning he got his last quarter in 24.99 seconds and was kept in the four path. He galloped out an extra eighth of a mile in 12.92 seconds.

"I never like breezing horses on the rail," Harris said. "I just think it's a little better two or three spots out. He's come out of that race awesome. All we got to do is keep him the way he is now."

"Pretty smooth, I thought," Albertrani said.

Albertrani said Bernardini, who has won four consecutive races, is showing all the signs of a horse on the improve.

"He's a lot sharper - he's a little more aggressive in a good way," Albertrani said. "He's going out there and training the way you want to see a horse train. He's got plenty of life to him. He just seems very sharp."

The Travers figures to come up tougher than the Jim Dandy in light of the impressive efforts by Bluegrass Cat in the Haskell Invitational and Bright One in the West Virginia Derby. Albertrani is unfazed.

"It might be a little tougher challenge for him," Albertrani said. "I still believe we have the best horse in the race. The way he's been training, if he runs back his same race he's going to be very difficult to beat."

Wait a While likely for Lake Placid

Todd Pletcher will not ship American Oaks winner Wait a While back to California for the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks. Instead, Wait a While will most likely make her next start in Friday's Grade 2, $150,000 Lake Placid Handicap here.

Pletcher said there is an outside possibility Wait a While could run in the Alabama, the day after the Lake Placid, if the main track comes up muddy.

"She's doing real well," Pletcher said. "I'm just concerned about shipping all the way to California again. The spacing is good from here to the Queen Elizabeth."

The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup is run at Keeneland on Oct. 14.

Saratoga Special: 'Gwedda' out, 'Roxy' in

Out of Gwedda, winner of the Tremont Stakes, will miss the rest of the summer because of a problem in his left foreleg, Pletcher said.

"He was a little bit off in his left front," Pletcher said. "We actually sent him for two different nuclear scans, neither one of which revealed anything specific. He's on his way to Ocala and he'll be off for the next 30 to 45 days."

Pletcher said he would be represented in next Thursday's Saratoga Special by King of the Roxy, who was purchased privately by Team Valor Stables after winning a maiden race at Hollywood Park on July 2 for owner-trainer Richard Matlow.

Barry Irwin, the head of Team Valor, said he called Matlow immediately after that race and made a deal to purchase the colt, an Ohio-bred son of Littleexpectations.

"I watched the race on TV; I couldn't believe he was a 2-year-old," Irwin said Friday from Kentucky. "The guy that owns him and trains him is a known fella and I bought from him in the past. Usually when horses go around the turn, their right leg flails around. He straightened around the turn like an older horse. Just awesome. He was powerful. I liked it."

Others pointing to the Saratoga Special are Actin Good, Chace City, Fast n Ready, Shermanesque, and Unbridled Express.

Shared Dreams takes Waya

Under a terrific ground-saving ride from Edgar Prado, Shared Dreams won Friday's $74,450 Waya Stakes by three-quarters of a length over a late-rallying Rowdy. It was one length back to Milwaukee in third.

Christophe Clement trained the first- and third-place finishers. It was one of three winners on Friday's card for Prado, who is now on top of the standings with 16 winners.

Despite breaking from post 8 in the 11-horse field, Prado was able to guide Shared Dreams to the hedge before the field entered the first turn. Prado sat chilly while in the second flight of horses until he found a seam in the two-path in upper stretch. Rowdy, meanwhile, was last for the opening mile and had to rally eight wide in the stretch under Mike Smith.

Shared Dreams, a 4-year-old daughter of Seeking the Gold owned by Sarah and Robin Leigh, ran the 1 1/2 miles over firm turf in 2:29.08 and returned $10.60 to win.

Sweet Science, the 3-2 favorite, finished 10th.

Roger Laurin back in winner's circle

Roger Laurin believes the last time he set foot in the Saratoga winner's circle was in 1985 after he won the Travers with Chief's Crown. He was there again Friday after Icy City won a maiden race for New York-bred 2-year-old fillies by 1 3/4 lengths in her third start.

The 70-year-old Laurin, the son of Secretariat's trainer, Lucien Laurin, recently returned to training after a 17-year retirement and has two horses. He also has a 2-year-old gelded son of Silver Charm named Silver Country who figures to start at this meet.

"To be honest with you, my golf game was so bad that I figured if I'm going to be aggravated I might as well go back to training horses," Laurin said.

Latent Heat sharp in victory

Latent Heat, turning back in distance after a second-place finish in the Long Branch Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, was very sharp Friday winning a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race by 3 3/4 lengths over Tuffertiger. After dueling with Disco's Son through a half-mile in 45.05 seconds, Latent Heat pulled away under Rafael Bejarano and stopped the clock in 1:16.01.

"This was a tough race," trainer Bobby Frankel said. "He was no 4-5 shot. On the sheets, he was the fourth-fastest horse in the race."

Frankel wasn't sure what he would do with Latent Heat next. He mentioned the $150,000 Jerome Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont on Oct. 1, but would like to run the horse before then. The King's Bishop on Aug. 26 may come up a little too soon, so Frankel may take a look at the Forego on Sept. 4.

"We'll see what kind of number he gets,'" Frankel said.

Steppenwolfer may get a rest

Steppenwolfer, who was one of the leading 3-year-olds in the spring, is training at Saratoga, but is unlikely to start and may soon get a vacation, trainer Dan Peitz said.

Steppenwolfer has not raced since finishing fourth in the Belmont Stakes. He was third in the Kentucky Derby. He was scheduled to run in the Virginia Derby last month, but was scratched when he became ill.

"He's training, but he doesn't seem to have the same enthusiasm," Peitz said. "I might give him some time off and bring him back at Oaklawn next year."

Steppenwolfer thrived at Oaklawn this year. After beating an allowance field, he was second in the Southwest Stakes, third in the Rebel Stakes, and second in the Arkansas Derby, all of which were won by Lawyer Ron.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman