09/03/2001 12:00AM

Dollar Bill out for year with an ankle injury

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Dollar Bill, who was frustrated by rough trips throughout the Triple Crown campaign, will not race again this season.

Trainer Dallas Stewart said Monday that Dollar Bill has a small fragment in his left ankle and would be out of training for the next 45-60 days.

"We discovered some filling in his left ankle after the Travers," said Stewart. "It's really nothing major, a minor flake, and we could have gotten a couple of more races out of him this season but decided it wasn't worth risking any major damage to the cartilage. The vets have assured me he should come back perfect next year."

Dollar Bill ends his 3-year-old campaign with one victory in seven starts, the win coming in his 2001 debut in the Risen Star Stakes. He finished third in the Blue Grass and Travers, fourth in the Preakness and Belmont - and lost all chance when taken up sharply in traffic around the second turn in the Kentucky Derby.

"He is a horse with a big heart who showed it despite taking a lot of slamming and enduring a lot of adversity this year," said Stewart. "I look for him to be very tough as a 4-year-old."

Pletcher excited about Balto Star

Balto Star's victory in his turf debut here Sunday opened many options for his trainer, Todd Pletcher, as he and the 3-year-old colt head downstate for the opening of Belmont Park's Fall Champion-ship meet beginning on Friday.

Balto Star scored a 2 1/2-length victory against fourth-level allowance horses over a mile on the grass Sunday. It was his first start since the son of Glitterman stopped badly and finished a well-beaten eighth in the Belmont Stakes, and his first victory since the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby.

"He ran the way he trained on the grass," Pletcher said of Balto Star's performance. "He seemed to do it easily, and even more important he galloped out super strong. Obviously, we learned he likes the turf. To what level he can go on grass is a question we've still got to determine. But it does put us in a position to go a lot of different ways with him now."

Pletcher said his immediate options for Balto Star would include the Jamaica and Kelso Stakes at Belmont or the Pegasus at the Meadowlands.

"At the moment I'm leaning towards the Jamaica, but we'll get down to Belmont and see how he does over the next couple of weeks before making a final determination."

Warners sets sites on Champagne

Pletcher is also high on his million-dollar baby Warners, who won his maiden with a 2 1/4-length victory over a very strong field of 2-year-old maiden special rivals on Monday. Warners was purchased by Eugene and Laura Melnyk for $1,050,000 at the OBS March sale.

Warners, a son of Dehere and Sweet Gold, finished second, beaten a neck by In High Gear despite posting a 103 Beyer Speed Figure in his only previous start, on June 10 at Belmont Park.

"We consciously made a point and not to over-race him after he ran so fast the first time," said Pletcher. "I had hoped to get a race into him earlier in the meet and then run in the Hopeful, but a couple of little things came up that prevent us from getting him back to the races until today [Monday]. I'll look at the Champagne next and if things continue to go well the Breeders' Cup Juvenile remains a possibility."

John's Call works for Man o' War

John's Call, who was held out of the Sussex Handicap at Delaware last weekend to run in the Grade 1 Man o' War at Belmont on Saturday, worked four furlongs in 50.02 seconds over the Oklahoma training track with jockey Jean-Luc Samyn aboard on Monday morning.

"I just felt the extra week off would do him good," said trainer Tom Voss. "I'll ship him to Maryland tonight [Monday] and just jog him a couple of days before bringing him over to Belmont on Friday."

John's Call will race on Lasix for the first time in the Man o' War after having bled in a disappointing performance in defense of his title in the Sword Dancer Handicap. Perhaps of even more significance is the fact the 10-year-old gelding appears to be over, at least for this season, the light sensitivity problem that has plagued him throughout his career.

"The head-shaking has gone away," said Voss. "He just stopped doing it three days ago. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's the time of year and the angle or intensity of the sun. Although this is about a month later than it disappeared last season. A year ago he stopped before he won the Sword Dancer. It had gotten to the point lately it was hard for him to even eat. I don't know what it was doing to him, but watching it happen was driving me nuts."

John's Call will face a strong field in the 11-furlong Man o' War, a field that is expected to include Ela Athena, Forbidden Apple, Just Listen, Silvano, Mutafaweq, With Anticipation, and Fusaichi Zenon.

* Time Release's victory in Monday's opener gave trainer Carl Nafzger his first win of the meet and his first at Saratoga since Unshaded won the 2000 Travers.

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