07/07/2005 11:00PM

Im Spartacus storms U.S.


ELMONT, N.Y. - Few people outside of Europe have heard of or seen Im Spartacus. If his connections stick to their plan, North American racing fans will have their fill of the 3-year-old gelding over the next two weeks.

Im Spartacus arrived in New York earlier this week and is entered to run in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Lexington Stakes at Belmont Park. Should things go well, Im Spartacus could wheel back in next Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap. If that works out, Im Spartacus would ship to Arlington Park for the Grade 2, $250,000 American Derby on July 23.

"That's the plan," trainer David Flood said Friday from England. "He'll tell us the way to go and we'll take it from there. He's probably a bit of freak. He thrives on activity. He's only a little thing - 15-2 [hands] - but he's tough. We call him a street fighter. Whatever little holes there are in any of the other horses, he's there to take advantage of it."

Running several races in a short period of time would be nothing new for Im Spartacus. In a 17-day period in May, Im Spartacus ran three races at three tracks in Europe. He finished second in a Group 3 at Chester before winning a minor stakes at York and a Group 3 race at The Curragh.

The 37-year-old Flood, who has only been training since September 2003, said the longer races and softer turf have helped Im Spartacus. Flood was "very, very happy" to hear of the heavy showers that were falling here Friday.

Jockey Jamie Spencer, who has ridden Im Spartacus in his last four starts, is coming to New York to ride.

Flood said Im Spartacus is versatile enough to be on the lead if there's no pace or come from behind if the pace is quick.

"He can do it any way," Flood said. "I just hope European form is strong enough to compete in America."

Society Selection likely for Go for Wand

Society Selection is unbeaten at Saratoga, so it makes perfect sense for her to make her next start in the Grade 1, $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap at the Spa on July 31. Then again, the Delaware Handicap, run on July 17, is worth $1 million, which is why the connections of Society Selection were toying with the idea of running there instead.

But, trainer Allen Jerkens said it is "90 percent" certain that Society Selection would make her next start in the Go for Wand. Society Selection won her debut at 2 at Saratoga, and last summer won the Test and Alabama, the two major events for 3-year-old fillies there.

"She runs better at home, it seems," said Jerkens, noting that Society Selection is 6-3-0 from 10 starts in New York and 0-0-1 from five starts out of state. "She has done well at Saratoga."

Society Selection has not worked since finishing second to Ashado in the Ogden Phipps Handicap on June 25. Jerkens said he has let Society Selection "gallop strongly a few times."

Confederation out with splint bone

Confederation, who was under consideration for next weekend's Leonard Richards Stakes at Delaware Park, will be out for a while after injuring a splint bone. The bone was pinfired on Friday, and it will be a couple of weeks before he can return to training.

Confederation, a 3-year-old son of Dixie Union, has won 2 of 4 starts, including a one-mile allowance race at Belmont on May 14 in which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100. His trainer, Todd Pletcher, said the injury occurred during a workout.

Meanwhile, Pletcher said that Flower Alley, runner-up to Roman Ruler in the Dwyer Stakes, came out of his race well and is being pointed to the Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 30.

"I thought he ran super," Pletcher said. "He should benefit from having a race, and it should set him up well for the Jim Dandy and the Travers if everything goes well."

Harlington, another 3-year-old trained by Pletcher, has resumed training at a farm in Ocala, Fla., and is likely to join Pletcher's stable at the beginning of August. Harlington, a son of Unbridled who cost $2.8 million, wrenched an ankle while finishing sixth as the favorite in the Risen Star Stakes in February and has been sidelined since. Pletcher hopes to have him back to the races toward the end of the Belmont fall meet.

Ritchey: Alex nearing a work

Aleet Alex, the clear-cut leader of the 3-year-old division after wins in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, is likely to have his first workout since the Belmont at the beginning of the week. Afleet Alex is preparing for a start in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 7.

Afleet Alex has been training steadily at Belmont Park. He resumed his twice-a-day training routines on two occasions last week.

"I think he's put on some weight," Ritchey said Friday. "He looks good. He'll have a couple of breezes and that's it."

Ritchey reiterated that Afleet Alex's second-half schedule will include the Haskell, Travers, and either the $750,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs or the Pegasus at The Meadowlands prior to the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Dominguez will ride at Saratoga

Ramon Dominguez, a leading rider on the Delaware Park circuit, is planning to ride the Saratoga meet, said his agent, Steve Rushing.

"A lot of the better horses we ride are up there, so we were going to spend a lot of time up there anyway - we figured it just made sense," Rushing said. "We plan on going to Gulfstream this winter, so we'll try to get him some exposure."

Through July 6, Dominguez was the fourth leading jockey in the country in wins with 155.