07/30/2001 12:00AM

Congaree looks sharp in Jim Dandy work


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Congaree, who trained here as a 2-year-old but did not run, will finally make his Saratoga debut in Saturday's $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes. Monday, he completed his preparations for the newly minted Grade 1 event by working five furlongs in 59.40 seconds at Del Mar.

Trainer Bob Baffert caught him galloping out six furlongs in 1:11.80 and was pleased with what he saw.

"He went really, really nice," said Baffert, who will ship Congaree by plane to Albany on Wednesday. "He's a good work horse."

Gary Stevens, who rode Congaree to victory in the Grade 1 Swaps on July 15, will come in for the mount. Stevens will then head to Monmouth Park to ride Point Given for Baffert in Sunday's Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

Congaree is expected to face a relatively small field in the Jim Dandy. His main challenger figures to be A P Valentine, runner-up in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Others expected to run are Drewman, Griffinite, Kid Rigo, and Windsor Castle. Scorpion is questionable.

Congaree, a son of Arazi, had his coming-out party in New York, taking the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in April. He ran two terrific races in the Triple Crown, finishing third in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. After a freshening, he had what amounted to a public workout in the Swaps, winning by four lengths after getting away with easy fractions.

"He got an easy race there," Baffert said. "He's a great 3-year-old. I still think he and Point Given are the best 3-year-olds in the land. He's starting to relax now. He learned something from his last out. When he hits the backside he doesn't have to throw it in overdrive."

Sunday, Windsor Castle worked five furlongs in 59.49 seconds, equaling the fastest of 33 works at the distance. Dollar Bill breezed six furlongs in 1:14.03, working in company with fellow 3-year-old Benge B. Trainer Dallas Stewart still remained on the fence Monday whether to run Dollar Bill.

"It was a good, solid work," Stewart said. "Whether it's enough to run off of, I don't know yet. I just need to win a race with him."

Monday, Jim Dandy nominee Buckle Down Ben worked five furlongs in 1:02.23 over the Oklahoma training track. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas indicated that Buckle Down Ben would run next in the West Virginia Derby on Aug. 11.

Put It Back out indefinitely

Put It Back, a winner of all five of his starts this year, came off the track sore Monday following a three-furlong workout and was declared out of Friday's Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes.

Trainer Allen Jerkens said he had X-rays taken, but as of Monday afternoon had not seen the results. Jerkens believes it could be a hairline fracture of the cannon bone in the left foreleg.

A son of Honour and Glory, Put It Back won the Grade 2 Riva Ridge Stakes in his last start, holding off Flame Thrower by a neck on Belmont Stakes Day. Jerkens purposely freshened him up for Saratoga. Last Wednesday, Put It Back breezed five furlongs in 58.82 seconds. Monday, he blew out three furlongs in 36.12 seconds.

Put It Back became the third horse to drop out of the Amsterdam. Songandaprayer is suffering from a hoof infection while the connections of Squirtle Squirt have opted to wait for the Grade 1 King's Bishop on Aug. 25.

City Zip, who swept Saratoga's trio of stakes for juvenile colts last year, will head the field. Others expected to run include Fistfite, Smile My Lord, Snow Ridge, Speightstown, and Trailthefox.

Monday, City Zip breezed four furlongs in 47.22 seconds. Trailthefox went the same distance in 46.12, the fastest of 33 works at the distance.

Zito looks forward to rematch

Trainer Nick Zito said Albert the Great, the beaten favorite in the Whitney Handicap, came out of his second-place finish in good order and will be pointed to the Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 8.

Albert the Great is 6 for 7 at Belmont and the race will be run under weight-for-age conditions. In the Whitney, Albert the Great was conceding nine pounds to Lido Palace.

"He'd have to run the race of his life to beat Albert if everything goes good with Albert," Zito said of Lido Palace.

Lido Palace came out of the Whitney "in great shape," according to Jose Cuevas, assistant trainer to Bobby Frankel. He is expected to run in the Woodward as is Red Bullet, who won a classified allowance race on Saturday.

Bridgmohan hit in face by horse

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan lost one tooth, had two more chipped, and sustained deep cuts in the gums of his mouth as a result of being struck in the face by a horse during the post parade of Monday's fourth race.

Bridgmohan was taken to Saratoga Hospital, where doctors examined him and then referred him to a local face trauma specialist. Bridgmohan received several stitches for the cuts in his gums. Bridgmohan was also bleeding from his nose, but his nose was not broken.

Bridgmohan was aboard Montmorenci, an unraced 2-year-old, when the horse head-butted him coming onto the track. Bridgmohan jumped off the horse.

The start of the race was delayed nine minutes while a substitute rider, Jose Espinoza, was retrieved for Montmorenci, who finished eighth. Bridgmohan had to take off his remaining two mounts on the card.

Vic Gilardi, Bridgmohan's agent, said he was not sure how long Bridgmohan would be sidelined.

* Veterinarian David Bryant was fined $1,000 for treating two horses with phenylbutazone, necessitating the scratching of both horses from last Friday's card. While permitted in other jurisdictions, the drug is not legal for race-day use in New York. The horses in question were Luft and Whataboutus, both trained by Gary Gullo.

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