07/23/2008 12:00AM

Fabulous Strike will miss Vanderbilt

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Grade 1-winning sprinter Fabulous Strike will be forced to miss Saturday's Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap after injuring his left front foot Tuesday morning, trainer Todd Beattie said.

According to Beattie, Fabulous Strike ripped off a piece of the frog on the bottom of his front left foot. Beattie said the injury would be similar to "peeling off layers of skin under your heel."

Beattie has had Fabulous Strike in Saratoga since July 14 and got a solid workout into him last weekend. Beattie said the injury likely happened Tuesday morning during training.

"He must have stepped on something training," Beattie said. "I don't know what else it could be. It's very unusual, being right in the middle of his foot. We though we'd be all right; we'd desensitize it, get it were it wasn't so sensitive. But you go up to the track and he gets a little sole pressure, and sand gets up into it and irritates him pretty good."

Beattie said he didn't expect Fabulous Strike to miss a lot of training time, but that he would ship him back to his Penn National stable and come up with a new plan. Beattie said he would consider shipping back to Saratoga for the Grade 1 Forego on Aug. 30.

"We were really disappointed," Beattie said. "We felt like the horse was ready to run his best race for us."

Fabulous Strike would have been the 121-pound starting highweight for the Grade 2 Vanderbilt. Now, Bustin Stones, the undefeated Grade 1-winning New York-bred, will be the co-starting highweight at 118 pounds along with Thor's Echo.

Others expected to run include Black Seventeen, First Defence, Abraaj, and Sammarco.

Tale of Ekati works for Haskell

Tale of Ekati might have run this Sunday in the Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, but, according to assistant trainer Robin Smullen, "He's a work short." Tale of Ekati will return to action soon, though, for trainer Barclay Tagg. On Wednesday morning at Saratoga, he zipped five furlongs in 1:00.67 on a wet-fast main track, a move that Smullen said will be his next-to-last before the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Aug. 3. The work was the fastest of 10 at the distance.

"That was a pretty good work on this track this morning," Smullen said. "He'll have one more work next week."

Tale of Ekati, who won the Wood Memorial in April, has not raced since finishing sixth of nine in the Belmont Stakes. He came out of the race with a nasty cut on his right hind foot.

"He got stepped on pretty good," Smullen said. "But it's grown down and it hasn't bothered him."

Another Tagg 3-year-old, Big Truck, is a possibility for the Jim Dandy, Smullen said. Big Truck, who has not raced since finishing 18th in the Kentucky Derby, is also under consideration for the Grade 3, $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer on Aug. 2.

Mint Lane works; Jim Dandy possible

Dwyer winner Mint Lane worked five furlongs in 1:02.77 over the Oklahoma training track Wednesday morning in preparation for a possible start in Sunday's Jim Dandy Stakes.

Though the Jim Dandy would be Mint Lane's third race in 45 days, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said that his last two races have taken little out of the colt.

"He hasn't lost a pound after any of his races, I kind of want to keep him on that schedule," Jerkens said. "Since he's been racing, he hasn't been very willing training-wise, especially galloping; doesn't want to do much in the morning. It's like running him often and not overworking in the morning seems to be working."

While there are several options for Mint Lane, including the West Virginia Derby on Aug. 2 and the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 3, Jerkens said he'd prefer to keep the horse in New York. So, most likely, Mint Lane would either run in the Jim Dandy or wait for the Travers on Aug. 23.

Among those considered definite for the Jim Dandy are Belmont winner Da' Tara and Belmont third-place finisher Anak Nakal, Preakness runner-up Macho Again, Louisiana Derby winner Pyro, Iowa Derby winner Tiz Now Tiz Then, and Dwyer runner-up Tizbig.

Tasteyville likely for Whitney

With the defections of Giant Gizmo and Divine Park from the race, and the prospect of an off track Saturday, trainer Pat Kelly is strongly considering running Tasteyville in the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Handicap.

Tasteyville has been in good form since last July, finishing first or second in 5 of 6 starts. He won the Grade 3 Sport Page Handicap at seven furlongs last October in the slop at Aqueduct before an injury forced him to miss the Grade 1 Cigar Mile.

He returned to the races May 31, winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance race in the slop at Belmont by 2 3/4 lengths. He came back in the Tom Fool, run at seven furlongs in the mud, and finished second to Lucky Island.

"I think we're probably going to enter and probably give it a whirl," Kelly said Wednesday morning as the rain came down in buckets. "He's on a pretty good roll right now. He ran a good race against a true sprinter who's better than I thought he was."

Another horse who could possibly run in the Whitney is Grasshopper, who finished second to Street Sense in last year's Travers. On Wednesday, Grasshopper worked four furlongs in 50.17 seconds over Saratoga's main track.

Forever Together preps for Diana

There were no turf works on the Oklahoma training track Monday. Nor Tuesday. When they were canceled Wednesday, too, due to inclement weather, trainer Jonathan Sheppard could wait no longer with Forever Together, who is scheduled to run Saturday in the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana Stakes.

Sheppard took Forever Together to the dirt track at Oklahoma, where the filly worked five furlongs in 1:01.44, the fastest time of 13 at the distance.

Forever Together was third most recently at 44-1 in the Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park on June 7. It was her second straight excellent effort on turf after being moved from the dirt; on May 17, she won the Reluctant Guest at Arlington Park.

"We keep them on the dirt until they show they don't belong there," Sheppard said of Forever Together, who ran eight times before moving to the grass.

Forever Together is by the Danzig stallion Belong to Me and is out of a Relaunch mare.

"She has some grass in her pedigree," Sheppard said. "She kind of lost her way last winter. We tried something different, and she took to it really well."

Forever Together will be stretching out to 1 1/8 miles on turf in the Diana after running one mile in the Just a Game.

"The distance is not a problem, as long as she's settled early and comes with a nice late run," Sheppard said.

Sheppard said Forever Together was originally scheduled to run earlier this month in the Modesty Handicap at Arlington, "but she had a little sinus infection."

"She missed a few crucial days of training, so we went in this direction instead," Sheppard said.

Others expected to enter the Diana are Bit of Whimsy, Criminologist, Dynaforce, Lady Digby, Rutherienne, Vacare, Wait a While, and possibly Chestoria.

Harty splitting time on both coasts

Last week in Del Mar. This week in Saratoga. Such is the life of trainer Eoin Harty, who has 20 runners here and another 25 at Del Mar.

Harty won last Saturday's San Diego Handicap at Del Mar with Well Armed and will try to win two stakes here this week. He had Desert Party entered in the Grade 2, $150,000 Sanford Stakes on Thursday and is scheduled to run Tiz Now Tiz Then on Sunday in the Jim Dandy.

Like Well Armed, Tiz Now Tiz Then is a son of Tiznow, as is the Harty-trained Colonel John, who won the Santa Anita Derby and is scheduled to arrive here next month to contest the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes on Aug. 23.

Tiz Now Tiz Then is coming off a victory at Prairie Meadows in the Iowa Derby. He has won three straight races after losing his first six starts.

"He's a typical Tiznow," Harty said. "If you give them time, they put it all together. We always thought he had talent. He was running against some pretty nice horses in some of his maiden races."

Tiz Now Tiz Then will be a longshot in a field that is expected to be headed by Da' Tara, winner of the Belmont Stakes.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman