08/12/2005 12:00AM

Don't Get Mad adds spice to Travers

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Ready's Gal, who might run in Friday's Grade 2 Lake Placid, is a picture of calm under Angel Cordero on Friday morning.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Three of the last eight winners of the Travers Stakes were based in Southern California. The connections of Don't Get Mad hope that trend continues this year when they ship Don't Get Mad from the West Coast to the $1 million Travers on Aug. 27.

Don't Get Mad adds a bit of intrigue to what was shaping up to be an ordinary race. Roman Ruler, who has spent most of the summer on the East Coast with wins in the Dwyer and Haskell, and Flower Alley, the Jim Dandy winner, are the two favorites.

Don't Get Mad sandwiched a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby between wins in the Derby Trial and Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill Downs. A quarantine situation forced Don't Get Mad to miss some training time prior to the Northern Dancer, and won that race mostly on talent.

Ron Ellis, who trains Don't Get Mad for B. Wayne Hughes, thinks he knows why the horse finished fifth in his last race, the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 9. Ellis believes Don't Get Mad may have regressed running back three weeks after a sharp effort in the Northern Dancer at Churchill Downs. Don't Get Mad missed some training time between the Derby and Northern Dancer because of a quarantine restriction.

"I don't think he was fit enough to run as good as he ran at Churchill," said Ellis, referring to his Northern Dancer win. "I think he overran himself. He was acting good coming out of it. I think he was just real flat when he ran [in the Swaps]."

Don't Get Mad tuned up for the Travers on Friday by working one mile in 1:41 at Santa Anita. While that isn't a fast time for a stakes horse, Ellis was pleased with the move considering Don't Get Mad is not a strong work horse.

"That's a pretty good work for him," said Ellis, who noted Don't Get Mad got his final quarter in 24 seconds. "He gets bored and does what he has to do."

Don't Get Mad will work again in Southern California before shipping to Saratoga on Aug. 24.

Fifth Avenue tunes up for Spinaway

Fifth Avenue, a hard-luck second in the Adirondack here on opening day, worked a strong five furlongs in 1:00.62 Friday morning in preparation for the Grade 2, $200,000 Spinaway Stakes here on Aug. 26. Jockey Pablo Fragoso was aboard for the breeze, the sixth-fastest of 45 at the distance.

"It was probably the best she's ever worked by herself," trainer Mark Hennig said. "She's never been an outstanding workhorse, but she seemed like she was in the bridle the whole way today. Maybe because she only ran a quarter mile the other day, she was looking forward to the breeze."

Fifth Avenue, who won the Fashion Stakes at Belmont in June, trailed for the first four furlongs of the Adirondack. When she wanted to make a move, there was nowhere for her to run, and jockey Pablo Fragoso had to alter course twice in the stretch. Fifth Avenue galloped out past the rest of the field.

"She got in behind the dirt and it was the first time she had that, and it took her awhile to adjust," Hennig said. "Once she figured that out she responded well."

Society Selection has laser surgery

Society Selection, fourth in the Go for Wand here on July 31, came out of that race with an entrapped epiglottis, trainer Allen Jerkens said. Society Selection has since undergone laser surgery and on Friday she galloped over Saratoga's main track for the first time since the procedure.

According to Dr. Stephen Carr, Society Selection had a "cystic entrapment of the epiglottis," in which excess tissue underneath the epiglottis grows up over it and grabs a hold of the epiglottis, making it entrap. Dr. Jerry Johnson performed the laser surgery, which burns off the excess tissue. Society Selection missed several days of training.

Jerkens said Society Selection wouldn't run in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 26, but didn't rule out the Grade 1 Ballerina, at seven furlongs, two days later. Last summer, Society Selection won Grade 1 stakes here at both those distances. Jerkens said the more likely spot for Society Selection is the Grade 1, $300,000 Ruffian on Sept. 11 at Belmont.

"She didn't lose very much conditioning," Jerkens said. "She walked a lot and she's not a fat horse."

Ready's Gal works toward Lake Placid

Ready's Gal, who has found a new home on the turf, worked four furlongs in 51.21 seconds on Oklahoma training turf course Friday morning in preparation for next Friday's Grade 2, $150,000 Lake Placid Handicap.

It was Ready's Gal's first breeze since winning the Grade 3 Lake George by 1 1/4 lengths here on July 29. Prior to that, Ready's Gal won the Little Silver Stakes at Monmouth Park.

"I was happy with her work; if she comes out of it well we'll probably go," trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Pletcher noted there is a small chance Ready's Gal could be held out of the Lake Placid to point to the Grade 1, $200,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 11.

"The thought has crossed my mind," Pletcher said. "She's already Grade 1 placed, but we also have the option of going to the Queen Elizabeth at Keeneland. But you don't want to give up a chance to take what's right in front of us."

Trainer Linda Rice will be anxiously awaiting Pletcher's decision. The Rice-trained Who's Cozy, who has twice been beaten by Ready's Gal, would likely go in whichever race Ready's Gal doesn't. Who's Cozy breezed five furlongs in 1:02.15 on the turf on Friday.

Patriot Act nearing return

He may be the best 3-year-old maiden around.

Patriot Act, who finished second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity as a maiden last October, is nearing his long-awaited 3-year-old debut for trainer Neil Howard and owner Will Farish. On Friday, Patriot Act worked five furlongs in 1:02.53 from the gate with the unstarted 2-year-old Save Big Money, who was clocked in the same time.

It was the 12th work for Patriot Act since his return from surgery to have a chip taken out of his left knee.

Patriot Act debuted here last Aug. 14, finishing third. On Sept. 17 at Belmont, he finished second behind Sun King in a highly regarded one-mile maiden race. That effort was the impetus to run him in the Breeders' Futurity, where he finished second behind Consolidator. Bellamy Road finished seventh in that race.

Howard returned Patriot Act to the maiden ranks on Oct. 31 at Churchill, and he finished fifth as a heavy favorite.

"We worked him out of the gate to make sure that he knows he's a racehorse not a pony," Howard said. "I'm really happy with him."

* Offlee Wild, the Suburban winner, worked a pedestrian six furlongs in 1:17.67 Friday morning over the main track in preparation for the $250,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup on Aug. 21.

* Evening Attire, last year's Saratoga Breeders' Cup winner, worked five furlongs in 1:03.43 and is possible to run in that race.

* The New York Racing Association had to refund $103,631 in wagers on Sir Tyler T in Friday's sixth race after the stewards declared him a non-starter. Sir Tyler T had his head turned to the left and his face was stuck in between the bars of the starting gate when it opened.