08/12/2001 11:00PM

Future uncertain for John's Call

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - John's Call bled when he finished last in Saturday's Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational and his future as a racehorse is in doubt.

On a scale of 1 to 10, John's Call bled a 10, according to trainer Tom Voss. Voss theorized that John's Call may have been affected by the severe heat that enveloped Saratoga during most of last week. John's Call did develop a heat rash on his coat.

"I've had five horses up here that bled," Voss said. "They've bled on Lasix, they've bled for the first time. I never saw heat like is."

John's Call has never run on Lasix, the anti-bleeding medication permitted for raceday use. Voss wonders if it's the right thing to do to start using Lasix now on John's Call.

"It seems strange to put a 10-year-old on Lasix for the first time," Voss said. "It's up to the owner really. You can't bleed any more than that, unless you bleed to death. Maybe we'll work him on [Lasix] a couple of times and see how he goes. Maybe the cooler weather will pick his head up. If he didn't respond after that, maybe that's it."

The mood was much better on the other side of barn 85. That's where trainer Jonathan Sheppard stables his Sword Dancer winner, With Anticipation. Sheppard said With Anticipation came out of the race "a little tired but basically fine" and would be pointed to the Man o' War at Belmont Park on Sept. 8.

Sheppard was pleased that With Anticipation was able to earn a Grade 1 win, but knows the task gets tougher as horses from the West Coast and Europe figure to descend on Belmont Park to prepare for the Breeders' Cup.

"It's not going to be easy, I know that," Sheppard said. "They keep throwing fresh horses at you, then they bring those good horses over from Europe. We've got a nice horse. I question whether he's world class. He is top class."

In the race following the Sword Dancer, Sheppard won a preliminary allowance race with Szczerbiak, a 4-year-old son of Seeking the Gold, out of Alice Springs, a Beverly D. runner-up in 1995. Sheppard has high hopes for Szczerbiak although he plans to run him through his conditions before attempting stakes company.

"He was a gangly, leggy, long-striding horse that took time to get his act together," Sheppard said. "I could make excuses for most of the races he didn't win. Either he ran into a bearcat or, one time at Aqueduct, he got a horrible ride when he ran off with Robbie Davis."

Left Bank wins - Woodward next?

Left Bank made a successful return to the races Monday, taking a six-furlong classified allowance race by 7 3/4 lengths. Afterward, trainer Todd Pletcher mentioned the Woodward Stakes, a one-turn nine-furlong race as a possible next start.

That race is expected to include reigning Horse of the Year Tiznow, Whitney winner Lido Palace, Belmont lover Albert the Great, and possibly Red Bullet.

"I know it's shaping up the race of the year, but we're going to consider the Woodward," Pletcher said. "He likes being on the lead, he likes Belmont, and on any given day he's very, very good. One day, you got to go for the home run."

Pletcher mentioned the Grade 1 Forego at 6 1/2 furlongs here on Sept. 1 as another possible next race.

Left Bank, a son of French Deputy, has won nine of 16 starts and has won at distances ranging from six to nine furlongs. Entering Monday's allowance, he was coming off an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, a race from which he emerged with a popped splint bone.

Left Bank certainly appeared to have his problems behind him Monday, as he overcame a stumbling start to run six furlongs in 1:08.53, the fastest six furlongs of the meet.

John Velazquez rode Left Bank to victory, snapping out of a 1 for 37 funk. After riding five winners on Aug. 5 and three more on Aug. 6, Velazquez went 2 for 44 for the week. Still, he is second in the jockey standings with 24 wins, five behind Jerry Bailey.

Touch Tone to Pennsylvania Derby

Touch Tone, who finished a game second behind Point Given in the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 5, will skip the Travers and make his next start in the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 3, trainer Ronny Werner said.

"It's going to be a little too quick back for him," Werner said of the Travers. "He ran hard [in the Haskell] and he's just going to need a little more time."

Chavez back with knee brace

Jorge Chavez, who bruised his left knee in a prerace accident Friday, returned to action Sunday and won the opener aboard Max O Max. Chavez was riding with a knee brace, which he will wear for a few more weeks.

Chavez injured the knee just before Friday's opener, when he was unseated by his mount, Whataboutus. Chavez did ride Whataboutus to victory, but then took off the remainder of his mounts and did not ride Saturday.

"It doesn't bother me, it helps me to bend my knee," Chavez said of the brace. "Otherwise, I'd be scared to bend it."

Chavez did say that he has asked his agent Richie DePass "to relax a little bit" as far as overworking him. "I told him don't put me on too many for at least a week," Chavez said. "I hope he listens to me."

Jockey injures lung, ribs

Steeplechase jockey Joseph Delozier III returned to his Maryland home Sunday night after being released from a Baltimore hospital following treatment for a collapsed lung and three broken ribs as a result of a spill in last Thursday's A.P. Smithwick Memorial at Saratoga.

Delozier, 26, was injured when his mount, Indispensable, fell over the second fence. Delozier was taken off the track on a stretcher and taken via ambulance to Saratoga Hospital.

Delozier was examined and released from Saratoga Hospital after doctors there told him he was fine. Delozier then flew home to Maryland and was admitted to Greater Baltimore Medical Center on Friday.

"They told him had he not gone to the hospital on Friday morning he would have been taken there wherever he collapsed," said Laura Delozier, Joe's wife.

Laura Delozier couldn't fathom how doctors at Saratoga hospital could fail to detect such serious injuries.

"I find it shameful not only to discharge him and give him a handful of Lortabs [codeine] but send him to the airport, where his lung completely collapsed," she said. "Friday morning, they put a test tube in his chest and within an hour he was feeling much better."

Laura Delozier said her husband may not participate in any aerobic activities for three weeks. At that time he will have another chest X-ray taken. He could be recovered in six to eight weeks and hopes to make the Shawan Downs meet in Hunt Valley, Md., which begins Sept. 29.

Laura Delozier said she was unsure whether her husband would take legal action against Saratoga Hospital.

* Lido Palace and Albert the Great, the one-two finishers from the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap on July 28, both put in workouts Sunday as they began preparations for the Woodward. Lido Palace went four furlongs over the main track in 51.41 seconds while Albert the Great went five furlongs on the Oklahoma training track in 1:02.96. Nick Zito, trainer of Albert the Great, said he felt Albert the Great went a little too fast.

* Dream Supreme, prepping for the Grade 1 Ballerina on Aug. 26, drilled five furlongs in 59.47 seconds Monday over Saratoga's main track. On a morning that yielded slow times, it was the fastest of 28 works at the distance by .67 seconds.

Go to Saratoga coverage.