09/07/2008 12:00AM

Indian Blessing scratched, will stay sprinting


ELMONT, N.Y. - Indian Blessing, the 7-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Ruffian Handicap at Belmont Park, was scratched from that mile and a sixteenth race and will be kept sprinting for now, trainer Bob Baffert said.

With an eye toward next month's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita, Baffert said he would now consider running Indian Blessing in either the $400,000 Presque Isle Masters at six furlongs on Sept. 13 or the Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom going 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont on Sept. 20.

The Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint is run at seven furlongs over Santa Anita's synthetic surface. Presque Isle Downs also has a synthetic surface.

"I don't want to gut her out, I want to keep her fresh for the Breeders' Cup Sprint," Baffert said Saturday from Southern California. "Three-quarters, that's her game right now, I'm not going to change it up. Maybe next year, we'll stretch her out."

Indian Blessing, last year's 2-year-old filly champion, has won the Grade 1 Prioress at six furlongs and the Grade 1 Test at seven furlongs this year.

Baffert won the Ruffian with his other representative in the race, Tough Tiz's Sis.