07/20/2005 11:00PM

Mile drill ideal exercise for Afleet Alex

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Working in company with a stablemate, Afleet Alex, under Jeremy Rose, works a mile in 1:36.74 Thursday morning in preparation for the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Aug. 7.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex had a serious piece of work at Belmont Park on Thursday morning. In his second work since winning the Belmont Stakes by seven lengths, Afleet Alex covered a mile over the main track in 1:36.74, handily, according to the Belmont clockers.

Afleet Alex will make his next start in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 7.

Jockey Jeremy Rose was aboard for the work, which took place under very warm conditions after the track had been harrowed. Afleet Alex started the work several lengths behind stablemate Always Noble, who finished his work early in the stretch. Always Noble, an allowance runner, was credited with a six-furlong work in 1:11.45.

The clockers' fractions on Afleet Alex's work were 23.85 seconds, 36.42, 47.90, and 1:11.19.

Trainer Tim Ritchey, who watched the work from aboard his stable pony, was satisfied.

"Just what we wanted to do," Ritchey said. "We had that five-eighths the other day, so we needed a little more today."

Ritchey said that Always Noble is the perfect workmate for Afleet Alex because he is quick.

Afleet Alex will work again before the Haskell, according to Ritchey.

Following the Haskell, Afleet Alex will ship to Saratoga, where he is scheduled to run in the $1 million Travers on Aug. 27.

Cacht Wells okay following scare

Cacht Wells seems to have escaped without an injury despite being vanned off the track following his upset win in last Saturday's Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap.

Cacht Wells, who returned $55, took an awkward step, according to jockey Eibar Coa, who dismounted the gelding on the backside. Cacht Wells left the turf course in an ambulance.

On Thursday, Cacht Wells's trainer, Stan Hough, said X-rays and a nuclear scan didn't reveal anything amiss.

"It might have been fatigue because he ran so hard, and then took a bad step," Hough said.

Cacht Wells will be in Saratoga with Hough's stable, but Hough hasn't picked out a spot for the 5-year-old's next start.

Curtain call for Wonder Again at Spa

Wonder Again, a popular name at Saratoga for the past three years, will hit the Spa for the final time in 2005. Owner-breeders John and Joan Phillips plan on breeding the 6-year-old Wonder Again next year.

Wonder Again, trained by Jim Toner, is scheduled to run in the Grade 1 Diana on July 30 for the third consecutive year. Last year, Wonder Again won the Diana by 5 3/4 lengths. She was fifth in 2003. As a 3-year-old, Wonder Again won the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes and an allowance race at Saratoga.

In the $500,000 Diana, Wonder Again seeks her first win of the year after a third in the Just a Game Breeders' Cup in June and a narrow loss to Wend in the Grade 2 New York Handicap earlier this month.

"I was very, very happy with her last race," Toner said. "There was no pace and she ran her eyeballs out. The winner is a proven top filly."

Stevens to ride regularly at Saratoga

Gary Stevens will start riding at Saratoga on opening day, Wednesday, said his agent, Craig O'Bryan. Stevens rode at the Churchill Downs meet, where he won at a rate of 27 percent. Stevens decided to move his tack to Saratoga instead of Del Mar, his usual place of business during the summer.

"We enjoyed such a good meet in Kentucky, and since a lot of our clients were going to Saratoga, it seemed we would have more opportunities in New York," O'Bryan said.