05/12/2008 12:00AM

Harlem Rocker works, still unconfirmed


ELMONT, N.Y. - Preakness candidates Harlem Rocker and Behindatthebar worked five furlongs together in 59.63 seconds Sunday morning over the Belmont Park training track. Behindatthebar, winner of the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 19, is definite for Saturday’s 133rd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, but a final decision has yet to be made on Harlem Rocker, undefeated winner of the Grade 3 Withers Stakes.

Todd Pletcher, who trains both colts, said he would like to run Harlem Rocker, but that a final decision won’t be made until Monday after he speaks with owner Frank Stronach, who is in Austria.

``The horse is doing very well, I’m gong to talk to the Stronachs tomorrow,’’ Pletcher said Sunday morning.

Harlem Rocker, with Angel Cordero Jr. up, and Behindatthebar, with John Velazquez in the irons, were basically together throughout the work, which Daily Racing Form timed in splits of 12.37 seconds, 24.16, 35.49 and 59.63. At the wire, Harlem Rock was about a head in front. The two galloped six furlongs in 1:12.97 and pulled up seven-eighths in 1:27.86.

``That was the best I’ve ever seen the gray horse work,’’ Pletcher said of Harlem Rocker. ``He’s not traditionally a real willing horse, he was very willing this morning.’’

For Behindatthebar, it was his first work ever on regular dirt after training exclusively on synthetic surfaces in California and Keeneland. Behindatthebar’s only race on traditional dirt came in the El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows in March, finishing fifth.

``I though he worked pretty well,’’ Pletcher said. ``He’s not an overzealous work horse either. In light of that, I thought they both worked very well.’’

If Harlem Rocker runs in the Preakness, he would most likely be the second betting choice behind Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown. If Harlem Rocker doesn’t run, Behindatthebar could become the second choice.

Eibar Coa would be expected to ride Harlem Rocker. David Flores has the call on Behindatthebar.