05/28/2006 11:00PM

Long-winded Deputy Glitters a viable Belmont alternative

Deputy Glitters isn't the top Tom Albertrani-trained 3-year-old, but he is a live Belmont Stakes contender.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Tom Albertrani may not be bringing his best 3-year-old to the 138th Belmont Stakes, but the one that he will saddle in the final leg of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown will certainly merit consideration.

Albertrani won the Preakness Stakes with Bernardini, whose sharp performance was greatly overshadowed by the catastrophic injuries suffered by Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro in the race. Bernardini's owner, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, decided to skip the Belmont and point Bernardini to summer stakes such as the Jim Dandy and Travers at Saratoga.

Without Barbaro and Bernardini in the field, this year's Belmont Stakes is considered wide open. So, bettors could do worse in hunting for value than landing on Deputy Glitters, the Albertrani-trained colt who upset probable Belmont favorite Bluegrass Cat in the Tampa Bay Derby and finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby.

Deputy Glitters's chances were enhanced on Monday when he picked up the services of jockey Edgar Prado, who had been the regular rider for Barbaro. Prado has won the Belmont Stakes twice, in 2002 aboard Sarava and in 2004 on Birdstone. Like Deputy Glitters, Birdstone finished eighth in the Derby.

As of Monday, 11 horses were listed as definite and three more considered possible for the Belmont, run at 1 1/2 miles. High Finance, a five-length winner of an entry-level allowance race here on May 4, was the latest 3-year-old to commit to the Belmont. A son of Talk Is Money, High Finance is owned by the West Point Stable and trained by Rick Violette. Cause to Believe, who worked one mile in 1:39.80 on Monday at Bay Meadows, is also possible.

Meanwhile, Deputy Glitters on Monday worked five furlongs in 1:01.84 over Belmont's main track. Exercise rider Simon Harris was aboard Deputy Glitters, whom track clockers timed in 25.80 seconds for his opening quarter, meaning he got his last three-eights in 36.04. Andy Rehm, the assistant to Albertrani, said Deputy Glitters went out seven furlongs in 1:27 and a mile in 1:41.

"He's a very good work horse; he did it easily and in hand," said Rehm, who is overseeing the stable while Albertrani serves out a 15-day suspension for a medication violation. "Simon said he was just cruising. He got a little unexpected company at the quarter pole; one of [Bill] Mott's horses hooked up with him, but Simon said it didn't affect him too much."

Deputy Glitters was barely on anyone's Kentucky Derby radar until he upset Bluegrass Cat in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby on March 18. His next race was the Wood Memorial, where Deputy Glitters finished sixth, 15 lengths behind the winner, Bob and John. That race was run over a sloppy track, a surface that Deputy Glitters couldn't handle. In his one prior race over a sloppy track, Deputy Glitters finished last in the Grade 1 Champagne.

In the Kentucky Derby, Deputy Glitters was five wide entering the first turn and continued to race wide down the backstretch while toward the back of the pack before making a bold move leaving the half-mile pole. He was fanned 11 wide in the stretch, and ran evenly down the lane. He was beaten 14 lengths by Barbaro, but was beaten just 5 1/2 lengths for fourth.

"With a better trip he could've been a lot closer," Rehm said. "We weren't going to beat the winner by any means, but he could've been third or fourth."

Rehm believes the 1 1/2 miles of the Belmont will suit Deputy Glitters, a son of Deputy Commander and the dam Glitters.

"We've always known that the one thing he can do is run all day," Rehm said. "Every time we've worked him he gallops out strong. Everybody who's ever ridden him said he gets into his rhythm and he acts like he can go all day. He's going to lay close to the pace; the setup of the race is going to suit him."

High Finance 'scary good' in work

On Sunday, trainer Rick Violette vanned High Finance to Belmont from Aqueduct for a one-mile work. After High Finance went a mile in 1:38.79 over the main track, Violette said High Finance is on target to run in the Belmont.

"He breezed scary good," Violette said Monday morning. "He went the last half in 46 [seconds], the last eighth in 11-and-change. He flat out couldn't have breezed any better. It didn't discourage us from considering it. It's a wide-open race. Nobody knows who's going to get a mile and a half. He's got a win over the racetrack - he's better now than at any time."

Since finishing second to Bernardini in a maiden race at Gulfstream Park, High Finance won a seven-furlong maiden race at Keeneland and a one-mile entry-level allowance race at Belmont on May 4. Prior to that allowance win, High Finance broke through the starting gate, similar to what Barbaro did before the Preakness.

High Finance won that race under a hand ride from Eibar Coa, covering one mile in 1:34.96 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 101.

Also Sunday, Kentucky Derby runner-up Bluegrass Cat worked five furlongs in 1:00.30 over Belmont's main track.

"He's a very fit horse," said Todd Pletcher, trainer of Bluegrass Cat. "He's had five weeks between races, and even though we're going a mile and a half we're just trying to keep him where he is and maintain his condition."

Belmont contenders

Horses pointing for the 138th Belmont at Belmont Park on June 10.

Bluegrass CatT. PletcherJ. Velazquez2nd, Ky. Derby
Bob and JohnB. BaffertG. Gomez17th, Ky. Derby
Deputy GlittersT. AlbertraniE. Prado8th, Ky. Derby
Hemingway's KeyN. ZitoJ. Rose3rd, Preakness
High FinanceR. VioletteE. Coa1st, Bel allowance
JazilK. McLaughlinF. Jara4th*, Ky. Derby
Oh So AwesomeJ. JerkensM. Smith3rd, Match the Hatch
Platinum CoupleJ. LostrittoJ. Espinoza6th, Preakness
Sacred LightD. HofmansV. Espinoza2nd, CD allowance
SteppenwolferD. PeitzR. Albarado3rd, Ky. Derby
SunriverT. PletcherR. Bejarano1st, Peter Pan
Cause to BelieveJ. HollendorferR. Baze13th, Ky. Derby
SweetnorthernsaintM. TrombettaK. Desormeaux2nd, Preakness
WilentzJ. OrsenoJ. Bravo1st, Mth allowance

* - Dead heat