08/02/2006 12:00AM

English Channel likely staying put

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The Green Monkey (right), working with Scat Daddy, goes five furlongs in 1:03.44 on Wednesday at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - At half the purse and somewhat less prestige, the Sword Dancer Invitational often takes a backseat to the Arlington Million. This year, however, that will not be the case.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Wednesday that although he plans to pre-enter English Channel in the Arlington Million, he will "probably" keep English Channel here to run in the $500,000 Sword Dancer. Both races are on Aug. 12. The Sword Dancer is also expected to draw Relaxed Gesture, who was beaten a head by Cacique in the Grade 1 Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day. Cacique, second to English Channel in the United Nations, is headed to Arlington.

English Channel won his career debut on turf at Saratoga as a 2-year-old. Last year, English Channel finished second as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington.

"The Secretariat was a hard race to gauge," Pletcher said. "He was on the lead, and he doesn't prefer that. He ran okay, it just wasn't his best race, and makes you wonder if you need to try that again. With the Sword Dancer, you get to keep him a mile and a half and then run back in the mile-and-a-half Turf Classic."

Following the Turf Classic, English Channel would most likely run in the Breeders' Cup Turf, also at 1 1/2 miles.

With Grade 1 wins this year in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs and the United Nations at Monmouth Park, English Channel is among the leaders of the older male turf division. He also won the Canadian Turf Handicap and was fourth, beaten a half-length by Cacique, in the Grade 1 Manhattan.

Meanwhile, trainer Christophe Clement is pointing Relaxed Gesture to the Sword Dancer, in part so he doesn't have to ship. Relaxed Gesture was beaten a head in the Sword Dancer last year. Most recently, he finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind English Channel in the U.N.

"The last two weeks before the U.N., he was a touch foot-sore at Belmont Park," Clement said. "That might have made a difference. He also got beat by two good horses."

Clement said Relaxed Gesture seems to be over his foot troubles, and also said he was pleased with Relaxed Gesture's four-furlong workout in 47.18 seconds Monday over a hard turf course.

Summerly just needs race to go

Getting Summerly prepared to run off a year layoff seems a lot easier than actually getting her into a race.

Summerly, last year's Kentucky Oaks winner, was scratched out of Sunday's Go for Wand because trainer Scott Blasi wanted to run her in an easier spot. But the $70,000 Ashado Stakes didn't fill for Monday. Then, it filled but was canceled as part of Wednesday's card, which was scrapped because of extreme heat. The Ashado has now been brought back for Friday, and Blasi said he is hoping nothing happens to cancel it again.

"I need the race to go, because we need to run her," Blasi said.

Five of the six horses entered for the Ashado were entered back for Friday, including In the Gold, who won the Grade 1 Gazelle and finished second to Summerly in the Oaks. Summer Rainbow did not enter back.

Blasi said he was hoping to use the Ashado as a prep for the Personal Ensign here Aug. 25.

"I'd just like to run her and evaluate that race and map out a campaign," Blasi said. "Until I run her, which seems to be a pretty big chore right now, it's hard to map out a campaign."

Cherokee Jewel heads Capote Belle

For those 3-year-old fillies who may not quite be up to a Grade 1 assignment such as Saturday's Test Stakes at seven furlongs, there is Friday's $70,000 Capote Belle at six furlongs.

Cherokee's Jewel, a daughter of Cherokee Run, has won three of four starts, including a six-length victory in a second-level allowance race on June 26 at Monmouth. Cherokee Jewel, trained by Tim Hills, should benefit from a field loaded with early speed.

Eibar Coa, off to a 1-for-34 start at the meet, has the mount.

India, who won a maiden race here last summer by 12 lengths, makes her first start since April 13, when she finished fourth in the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland.

Coli Bear, based at Delaware Park with Steve Klesaris, has won five of 10 races, including her last three.

The Green Monkey works five

The Green Monkey, the most talked about 2-year-old on the grounds even though he has yet to start, worked five furlongs in 1:03.44 here Wednesday. The work was The Green Monkey's second at five furlongs and first over this track since trainer Todd Pletcher shipped him up from Belmont Park last month.

A son of Forestry, The Green Monkey was purchased for a record $16 million at the Fasig-Tipton February 2-year-old sale at Calder.

"I thought he went well," said Pletcher. "He's still a couple of works away. He won't run in a race in this book. I don't want to say too much about exactly when he will start, because I doubt anybody here will want to do me any favors and help make the race go."

Nelson return moved up to Friday

Diane Nelson's comeback has to wait two more days.

Nelson, who has undergone two back operations since riding her last race in early January, was named on Griffin Cat in Wednesday's fifth race. Wednesday's card was canceled because of the extreme heat in the Northeast.

The race, for maiden claimers, was brought back for Friday, and Nelson is named on Griffin Cat again. Griffin Cat is owned by Nelson's father, Jim Bissett.

Nelson said she was ready to ride two weeks ago, but she didn't have any business. She said she understands that this is not the ideal time to return from a long layoff.

"I understand nobody wants to be the first one to see if I'm really ready," Nelson said Wednesday morning. "I'll have to wait for my dad's horse. He won't turn me down."

Nelson had surgery to repair herniated discs in her back. The first procedure occurred in January, and a second one was needed in March. Nelson said she feels "great" right now.

"I felt I could've ridden two weeks ago," she said. "Now I can't wait. When you start breezing horses, you want to ride."

Nelson said she is scheduled to ride a horse for trainer John Morrison on Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Wild Fit prepares for Test

Wild Fit, among the favorites for Saturday's Grade 1 Test Stakes, worked a bullet half-mile in 47 seconds here Wednesday. The runner-up in the 2005 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Wild Fit has started just twice at 3. Both races came at Santa Anita, where she finished second in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes and third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks.

The seven-furlong Test is expected to draw a full field of 12 or more 3-year-old fillies.

* Dubai Escapade, the beaten favorite in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney on July 15, worked four furlongs in 48.14 seconds Wednesday over Saratoga's main track. She remains on schedule for the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap here on Aug. 27.

* Angara, winner of Saturday's Grade 1 Diana, will be pointed to the $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park on Oct. 7, trainer Bill Mott said.

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch