07/03/2006 11:00PM

Following the turf leaders

American Oaks winner Wait a While could return to California for the Del Mar Oaks or run in Saratoga's Lake Placid.

With numerous turf stakes scheduled for the summer months, this is a good time to catalog some of the more impressive turf performers of recent weeks. The horses are listed with probable target races.

* After Market: Bill Mott-trained 3-year-old won his debut on the Aqueduct turf last fall and came back with a good win in an allowance race on the June 15 Belmont card. Seems to be developing step by step into another graded stakes grass runner for one of the top turf trainers in the game. May be placed in another allowance race early in the Saratoga meet, or the $150,000 National Museum of Racing Breeders' Cup on Aug. 7.

* Cacique, Relaxed Gesture, and English Channel - three of the top four finishers in the 1 1/4-mile Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day - rate close together and are moving in a forward direction toward the Arlington Million on Aug. 12. But, there are alternative targets: the $400,000 Eddie Read on July 23 at Del Mar and the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga on Aug. 12, the same day as the Arlington Million.

Cacique, a 5-year-old Irish import trained by Bobby Frankel, has been a solid performer in all three of his American outings from one mile to 1 1/4 miles. He handles any course condition, but has not been tested beyond 10 furlongs.

Relaxed Gesture, another 5-year-old Irish import, is a long distance specialist who was flying at the end of the Manhattan and never has run a bad race in eight North American starts, from nine furlongs to 1 1/2 miles.

English Channel, a 4-year-old, made a series of spirited bids in the final half-mile of the Manhattan, but did weaken a bit nearing the wire. He defeated Cacique in the nine-furlong Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. English Channel has won at 10 furlong and was a close second to Shakespeare at 12 furlongs last fall, and seems to prefer firm footing.

* Film Maker: A familiar 6-year-old mare with more than a $1.5 million bankroll looked very sharp winning her first outing of 2006 in the nine-furlong All Along BC on the Colonial Turf Cup card on June 24. She prefers longer and handles wet turf, and may run in the $500,000 Diana at Saratoga on July 29 or the $750,000 Beverly D. at Arlington on Aug. 12.

* Gorella: Was so impressive gathering in front-running Pommes Frites under an amazing ride by the exciting apprentice jockey Julien Leparoux in the Just a Game BC on the Belmont Stakes Day card. This classy import runs equally well against males and will be the horse to beat in any turf mile anywhere.

* Pine Island: This 3-year-old filly won a maiden race on the turf at Gulfstream during the winter then took an allowance race that was moved from the turf to a sloppy Belmont track on June 8. Made a very good showing when second to multiple Grade 1 winner Bushfire in the Mother Goose at nine furlongs on the main track to demonstrate her class, talent, and versatility. Bred beautifully for grass and distance. Will deserve a long look in any graded turf stakes or the 10-furlong Alabama on the main track on Aug. 19.

* Remarkable News: This 4-year-old finished second in the Grade 3 Poker after getting caught in a pocket until midstretch and seems to have more versatility and scope than the winner Rebel Rebel, despite Rebel Rebel's powerful knockout punch at one mile.

With five wins, two seconds, and a third in eight career starts on grass courses in California, Florida, Kentucky, Canada, and New York, Remarkable News has run strongly on the lead, near the lead, and from back in the pack. Should he encounter Rebel Rebel at Saratoga, or later in the year at Belmont, Remarkable News probably would deserve a hair-splitter's edge at one mile and a clear-cut advantage at 1 1/16 miles. But a good trip would help.

* Showing up: Lightly raced 3-year-old colt was a sixth to his stablemate Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby and then shipped to Colonial Downs in Virginia to dominate a large field in the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup, his first race on turf. Trainer Barclay Tagg might point this one for the Travers, but the $400,000 Secretariat on the grass at Arlington on Aug. 12 is a more likely target.

* Wait a While: Todd Pletcher's 3-year-old filly was shipped to Hollywood Park for the 1 1/4-mile American Oaks and the daughter of Maria's Mon dominated a field that included the one-two-three finishers of the Honeymoon Handicap, plus stakes winners from Canada, northern California, and Japan. Pletcher said before the race that he had been trying to get Wait a While in a turf race all year and now we know why. A possible starter in the $150,000 Lake Placid at Saratoga on Aug. 18, but might ship back to California for the $400,000 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 19.