08/29/2007 11:00PM

Hard-luck Chatain bruises foot preparing for Forego


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - First, Chatain showed disdain for Polytrack. Then, he burned both hind ankles in a fast workout trying to make it to the Metropolitan Handicap. Now, Chatain, who is entered in Saturday's Grade 1 Forego Stakes, has a bruised left front foot.

It's enough to make a grown trainer cry.

"On Tuesday afternoon I was looking for a bridge," trainer Angel Penna Jr. said Thursday morning.

Penna said Chatain was found to have a bruised foot Tuesday afternoon, a few hours after he worked four furlongs in 48.02 seconds over Saratoga's main track.

"He breezed beautiful, all cylinders were on," Penna said. "I came to walk him, he was a little gimpy. We worked on him all afternoon and he was 90 percent better, but it's not 100 percent."

Late Thursday morning, Penna said that a blacksmith was designing a special shoe for Chatain to wear in the $250,000 Forego so that he doesn't pound his heel. If Chatain were to gallop comfortably over the track with the shoe on Friday morning, then he would run in the Forego.

"I can't get him going back to back," Penna said. "It's not a major deal, but it's always wrong time, wrong moment."

The year began very well for Chatain, who took a first-level allowance race by 10 lengths and then won the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Handicap by a head over Sir Greeley. He was beaten only 2 1/2 lengths by Invasor when fourth in the Donn at 1o1/8 miles.

Penna ran Chatain in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Handicap at Keeneland, but the colt did not care for the Polytrack and he finished eighth as the 6-5 favorite.

After being forced to miss the Met Mile, Chatain returned to the races with a sharp two-length victory in a third-level allowance race here going six furlongs.

Commentator to train up to Cup

Commentator, the beaten favorite in last year's Forego, was not entered back for Saturday's renewal. That's because his connections are going to train him up to the Breeders' Cup.

Trainer Nick Zito said that Commentator could be pointed to either the $1 million BC Dirt Mile at a mile and 70 yards on Oct. 26 or the $2 million Sprint at six furlongs the next day.

"We have to make this race count," Zito said. "He's capable of running a big performance off the layoff."

In his last race, Commentator finished sixth in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap here July 28. He was coming off a third-place finish in the Tom Fool on July 4.

"We pulled the trigger too fast and we shouldn't have run him in the Vanderbilt, but we did," Zito said. "The Tom Fool was too tough of a race for him with that 43-second half.

Schosberg isn't done yet

Trainer Rick Schosberg hopes to cap a stellar Saratoga meet when he runs Attila's Storm in Saturday's Forego Stakes. Through Thursday, Schosberg had a record of 6-8-4 from 25 starters at the meet. His horses had earned $335,000.

This is Schosberg's best Saratoga meet since 2000 when he won with 9 of 32 starters. In the past six summers, Schosberg has averaged two wins per Saratoga meet.

Attila's Storm may be the best horse in Schosberg's barn. Winner of the Grade 3 Toboggan Handicap in March, Attila's Storm came off a four-month layoff to run second in the Vanderbilt on July 28. Though the seven furlongs of the Forego may be an eighth of a mile beyond his best distance, Attila's Storm is using the race as a prep for the $2 million BC Sprint.

"We got a lot of momentum coming into it," said Schosberg, who also said Attila's Storm would be his last starter of the meet. "The horses have all been running good, doing well, and found the right spots at the right time. Everything fell into place for us. It's nice that it just happened to be at the meet where the purses were so big."

Rags to Riches gallops

Rags to Riches, the Belmont Stakes winner, galloped 1 1/4 miles over the Oklahoma training track on Thursday morning. It was her first gallop since Sunday.

"She was bright, healthy, and happy," trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Rags to Riches missed a scheduled workout earlier this week when she had a temperature of 102. She is expected to breeze this weekend, after which Pletcher will determine whether she can run in the Grade 1 Ruffian on Sept. 8 or the Gazelle on Sept. 15.

Indian Blessing whistles

A day after sending out the 2-year-old J Be K to a track-record performance, trainer Bob Baffert unleashed another fast 2-year-old - Indian Blessing, who rolled to a 5 1/4-length victory at first asking on Thursday.

Indian Blessing, a daughter of Indian Charlie, ran the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.26, just missing the track record of 1:03.13 set by J Be K on Wednesday. Indian Blessing's final time equaled the mark of Secret Gypsy. which was broken by J Be K.

"The owner [Hal Earnhardt] is at a Quarter Horse sale in Ruidoso," Baffert said. "He called me yesterday and said 'Why did you have to break the record. I could have had the record.' If she had an outside post she could have had the record."

Baffert said he was concerned with Indian Blessing having to break from the rail. After breaking a step slowly, Indian Blessing, under Rafael Bejarano, rushed up to run fractions of 21.49 seconds, 44.37, and 56.60.

"If she had an outside post she wouldn't have had to go so fast," Baffert said. "She broke slow; he had to send her. She's a sweetheart. She's got a great mind - you can actually take a hold of her."

Baffert is now 4 for 7 at the meet, all four wins coming with 2-year-olds.

Vitruvius finds shorter, not easier

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens scratched Vitruvius out of a second-level allowance race at 1 1/8 miles last week for a seven-furlong race on Saturday. While he found the preferred distance, this race seems significantly tougher than the longer race did.

Vitruvius, unbeaten in two starts, will meet Americanus and Starbase, the second- and third-place finishers from the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes, as well as recent first-level allowance winner My Golden Opinion and Brilliant Son, who finished second in his first start off a nine-month layoff.

Owners Manual, who won a first-level allowance on dirt in July, comes off a fourth-place finish in the Glow Stakes at a mile on turf.

Vitruvius, a half-brother to Corinthian who is running in the Woodward on the same card, has not run since April 11. He was sidelined with a severe skin disease.