08/05/2005 11:00PM

More problems for Noble Causeway


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Noble Causeway, who was scratched by jockey Jerry Bailey just prior to the Jim Dandy on July 30, was pulled up by jockey Ramon Dominguez after a quarter-mile in a second-level allowance race here on Saturday.

New York Racing Association chief examining veterinarian Anthony Verderosa put Noble Causeway on the vet's list for an indefinite period, meaning he cannot race until the vets clear him to run. Verderosa, who cleared Noble Causeway to run Saturday after watching him breeze a half-mile on Tuesday, said that Noble Causeway is likely to be shipped to the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington, Ky., for an examination.

"We want to see more diagnostic work on the horse," Verderosa said. "This is not just a limb problem. He has been gone over by quite a few vets."

Jockey Ramon Dominguez told trainer Nick Zito that Noble Causeway warmed up fine and broke sharply. But an eighth of a mile into the race, Noble Causeway shortened stride and had no action. Dominguez pulled him up a quarter-mile into the race. Noble Causeway, who was second in the Florida Derby, 14th in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Preakness, was made the 9-5 favorite in the allowance race, which was won by Ice Wynnd Fire, ridden by Bailey.

Noble Causeway was vanned off the track.

"It must be something internally because he said it wasn't like that the day he breezed him," said Zito, referring to Tuesday's half-mile breeze with Dominguez aboard. "I have to send him to the clinic to see what's really wrong, because we can't find out what's wrong with him. Thank God he's okay. You can't bring a horse over here like this, obviously, so I'll send him to the clinic and see what the deal is."

Dollase: Meteor Storm ready

Trainer Wally Dollase won the 1997 Travers with Deputy Commander and then won again six years later with Deputy Commander's son Ten Most Wanted. This year, Dollase has set his sights on another Grade 1 stakes at Saratoga, Saturday's $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational with Meteor Storm.

Dollase, who with 14 horses is stabled at Saratoga for the first time, owns Meteor Storm along with The Horizon Stable. In the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer, Meteor Storm will seek his first win since last year's Grade 1 Manhattan at Belmont Park.

In his last start, Meteor Storm finished seventh, beaten less than four lengths, in the 1 1/4-mile Manhattan on June 11.

"He lost two front shoes in the Manhattan and still ran incredible," Dollase said. "He gets more distance in the Sword Dancer and that is what he likes - the farther the better. He's also coming into the race fresh."

In addition to Meteor Storm, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano, the other invitees expected to run are Better Talk Now, Dreadnaught, King's Drama, Relaxed Gesture, Request for Parole, and Silverfoot. An alternate list of invitees was released Saturday - Angara, Revved Up, Rochester, and Salic Law.

Last week, Dollase added two more runners to his stable, Bending Strings, second in the Go for Wand on July 31, and Eye of the Tiger. Both horses had been trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. John Gunther, the owner of Bending Strings and Eye of the Tiger, has had horses with Dollase for several years. Gunther co-owns the Dollase-trained Two Trail Sioux, a graded stakes winner who was second in the $1 million Delaware Handicap in her last start. Two Trail Sioux is being pointed to the Grade 1 Personal Ensign later in the meet.

Forest Music to Ballerina

Trainer Steve Asmussen said that Forest Music, front-running winner of Friday's Honorable Miss Handicap, will be pointed to the Grade 1 Ballerina here on Aug. 28. Asmussen had hoped to run defending Ballerina winner Lady Tak in that race, but said she would not be ready in time.

Forest Music has not won beyond six furlongs and finished third, beaten 10 lengths in last year's Test here at seven furlongs, the distance of the Ballerina.

"We'll have to do better, but it's not impossible," Asmussen said when asked about running Forest Music at seven furlongs. "There is a possibility if we don't think it's going to happen we won't run her. The day after, everything looks good. We're pleased with the race yesterday, pleased with how we are today."

Forest Music has now won 6 of 16 starts, including the Grade 2 Honorable Miss and the Grade 3 Miss Preakness. Friday, she was making her first start since being privately purchased by Jess Jackson.

Meanwhile, Asmussen said that Lady Tak did not train during the several weeks that his Churchill Downs barn was under quarantine. Thus, Asmussen feels she will not be ready to run in the Ballerina and will most likely make her next start in the $100,000 Floral Park Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 17.

- Bellamy Road, the beaten Kentucky Derby favorite, worked five furlongs in 1:04.51 over the Oklahoma training track. He remains on schedule to return on Aug. 27, most likely in the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson