08/16/2002 11:00PM

Injured Pompeii won't defend Personal Ensign

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Pompeii, who was training toward an attempt at a repeat victory Friday in the Grade 1, $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap, has been retired after injuring an ankle.

"She wrenched an ankle," trainer Elliott Walden said. "We're not going to make this race, and we felt like she's done enough to make a broodmare out of her."

Pompeii, a 5-year-old daughter of Broad Brush, was purchased by WinStar Farm from Robert Clay just before her victory in last year's Personal Ensign. She won the race for trainer John Kimmel before being transferred to Walden's barn.

Pompeii never recaptured that Personal Ensign form, as she won just one of six starts for Walden. Most recently, she finished fourth in the Grade 3 Delaware Handicap on July 21.

Pompeii's other stakes wins included the Grade 3 Rare Treat Handicap at Aqueduct and the ungraded Doylestown Handicap at Philadelphia Park. Pompeii had a record of 9-6-1 from 22 starts and earned $717,288.

Dancethruthedawn in bullet work

Go for Wand winner Dancethruthedawn worked Saturday at Woodbine in preparation for the Personal Ensign.

Dancethruthedawn, who won the Go for Wand by 3 3/4 lengths here opening weekend, worked five furlongs in 1:00, handily, the fastest of 27 works at the distance. Mark Frostad, the filly's trainer, said she galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 and change.

Dancethruthedawn, who will be ridden by Jerry Bailey in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign, is scheduled to arrive here Monday.

The 1 1/4-mile Personal Ensign will feature a rematch between Dancethruthedawn and Summer Colony, two of the leaders of the older filly and mare division.

In their only meeting in the Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap on May 17, Summer Colony beat Dancethruthedawn by a nose after an exciting stretch duel. Both fillies carried 119 pounds. In the Personal Ensign, they each will carry 120 pounds as the co-highweights.

"They are both very nice fillies," Frostad said. "The other filly just won by a bob of the head. I think they are pretty close together [in ability]."

While Dancethruthedawn was able to get her breeze in for the Personal Ensign, a few of the other prospective starters stabled at Saratoga weren't as lucky. An off track on Friday and Saturday forced Summer Colony's trainer, Mark Hennig, to delay his filly's work. Two Item Limit (114) and Miss Linda (118) also missed scheduled works because of the wet going.

"I was going to go five-eighths this morning," Steve DiMauro, Two Item Limit's trainer, said. "I'm only going to go a half-mile and let her gallop out five-eighths. With a filly that has been running it doesn't change a lot. She's fit. It's just the matter of keeping her on a schedule."

The other expected starters are Starrer (115), Critical Eye (114), and Transcendental (114).

Warners in stable condition

Warners, the 3-year-old colt who was taken to the Hunters Hollow Equine Clinic on Thursday after taking ill, was doing well on Saturday, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.

"He was pretty stable this morning," Pletcher said. "His blood work is improving. He still has some loose stool, but the doctors are optimistic that he's getting better. He will remain there a few more days."

Warners, who won an allowance race by eight lengths on Aug. 10, showed symptoms similar to those of Freedom's Daughter, Pletcher's 2-year-old stakes-winning filly who died suddenly last Monday. Not wanting to take any chances, Pletcher had Warners immediately shipped to the clinic, located less than a mile from his barn. Though Warners did spike a fever at the clinic, his temperature quickly returned to normal.

Veterinarians have told Pletcher that colitis X, which killed Freedom's Daughter, is not contagious.

"All that being said you still want to be cautious," Pletcher said.

Private Emblem works in slop

Private Emblem, preparing for Wednesday's $150,000-added Albany, was among a small number of workers on the main track on Saturday. With exercise rider Anna Hollander in the saddle, the New York-bred covered a half-mile in 50.02 seconds around the dogs in the slop.

Private Emblem, trained by Steve Asmussen, is without a win in three starts since capturing the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby in April.

After briefly owning the lead in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile New York Derby at Finger Lakes in his last start on July 27, Private Emblem finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length by Trial Prep.

"I don't have a whole lot of excuses for that," Scott Blasi, Asmussen's assistant, said. The Albany, Blasi said, "is kind of his deal. He won the mile-and-an-eighth Arkansas Derby and that was by far his best race of the year.'

The other probables for the Albany are Trial Prep, No Parole, Mr. Determined, J's Wild Slew, and Private Purchase.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson