07/02/2004 11:00PM

Dwyer next for The Cliff's Edge


ELMONT, N.Y. - A foot problem seemingly behind him, The Cliff's Edge appears ready to begin the second half of his 3-year-old campaign Sunday in the Grade 2, $150,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park.

The Cliff's Edge, who missed the Preakness and Belmont because of a bruised right front foot, completed his preparations for the Dwyer on Saturday by working five furlongs in 1:03.53 over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga. It was his fifth work since recovering from the injured foot, which was first diagnosed May 12, the day entries were drawn for the Preakness.

The Dwyer would be the first start for The Cliff's Edge since he finished fifth behind Smarty Jones in the Kentucky Derby. The Cliff's Edge, who won the Grade 1 Blue Grass, lost a front shoe during the Derby, which was run over a sloppy track.

"I like what I see right now," said trainer Nick Zito. "This is a race to come back in, but I've got other plans. Right after this race, we'll pick a race like the Jim Dandy or Haskell."

Zito's main goal for The Cliff's Edge this summer is the $1 million Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 28. The Cliff's Edge won his maiden at the Spa the day after the 2003 Travers.

Sir Shackleton, whom Zito also plans to run in the Dwyer, worked five furlongs in 1:03.65 at Saratoga. Sir Shackleton won the Grade 3 Derby Trial on April 24, but finished sixth, beaten 14 3/4 lengths by Smarty Jones in the Preakness.

"He didn't run that bad in the Preakness," Zito said. "Look at second place. Rock Hard Ten didn't beat him by much."

Zito said that Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone would most likely have his first breeze back next Saturday at Saratoga. Plans for Birdstone are still unsettled, but Zito again mentioned the possibility of training Birdstone up to the Travers. Zito said he is concerned that the 20 days between the Jim Dandy or Haskell, both run Aug. 8, and the Travers wouldn't be enough time for Birdstone.

Zito said that Royal Assault, who finished third in the Belmont Stakes, is under consideration for the Long Branch at Monmouth on July 17, the Jim Dandy, and the Haskell.

Pies Prospect, who won a minor stakes at Delaware Park on June 22, worked five furlongs in 1:01.03 on Saturday at Belmont in preparation for the Grade 3, $250,000 Leonard Richards at Delaware Park on July 18.

Eddington back to work

Eddington worked four furlongs in 47.63 seconds Saturday morning over the main track, his first timed move since finishing fourth in the Belmont Stakes on June 5. It was the third-fastest of 40 works at the distance.

Though Eddington went four weeks without a breeze, he was never out of training and was galloping daily, trainer Mark Hennig said. Hennig is looking at the Jim Dandy, Haskell, or the Grade 3, $600,000 West Virginia Derby on Aug. 7.

Stroll to get summer vacation

Stroll, winner of the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve at Churchill Downs, will get a freshening over the summer and be pointed to the Grade 2, $350,000 Kelso Handicap here Oct. 9, trainer Bill Mott said. A good race in the Kelso could then earn Stroll a shot in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Lone Star Park three weeks later.

Mott said there was nothing specifically wrong with Stroll, but he felt Stroll would benefit from a freshening. In his most recent start, Stroll finished sixth in the Manhattan Handicap.

"He came off a sub-par effort the other day," said Mott. "We'll give him a little time off. If things go right, we'll have enough horse left for the end of the year."

Meanwhile, Mott says he plans to run Silver Tree in next Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Poker Handicap at one mile. Though Silver Tree won last year's Virginia Derby at 1 1/4 miles, it now looks as though he prefers shorter distances.

After running poorly in a pair of graded stakes at nine furlongs, Silver Tree won a strongly run one-mile allowance race here June 16.

"It's been a little baffling," Mott said. "For a horse that's already won at a mile and a quarter, that he's backed up on us going a mile and an eighth is slightly confusing."

Also expected in the Poker are Bourbonnais, Burning Roma, Chilly Rooster, Christine's Outlaw, Millennium Dragon, Multiple Choice, and Provincetown. Blakelock, Megoman, and Mr. Light are possible.

* Fortunate Damsel, under Javier Castellano, rallied to wear down Seducer's Song to win Friday's $62,300 Fieldy Stakes by a half- length. It was another half-length back to Jinny's Song, the 8-5 favorite.

Fortunate Damsel, trained by Phil Johnson, covered the one mile over firm turf in 1:33.36. She returned $11.20 to win.

* Storm Flag Flying, second to Sightseek in the Ogden Phipps Handicap, worked four furlongs in 49.89 seconds Saturday over the main track. She is preparing for a rematch with Sightseek in the Grade 1 Go for Wand Handicap Aug. 1.