06/10/2005 12:00AM

Oratory sets sights on Travers

Oratory, shown on the track at Belmont last week, worked Friday for the first time since winning the Peter Pan, getting five furlongs in 1:02.03 .

ELMONT, N.Y. - On the day before the Belmont Stakes, a race in which he probably would have been the third betting choice, Peter Pan Stakes winner Oratory worked a leisurely five furlongs at Belmont Park.

In his first work since his emphatic Peter Pan score last month, Oratory worked five furlongs Friday morning in 1:02.03 over Belmont's main track. His connections are eyeing the second half of the year for Oratory, who earned a 114 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Peter Pan in a stakes-record time of 1:46.35.

Trainer Tom Albertrani said he had no regrets about skipping the Belmont with Oratory, who would have had to be supplemented to the race for $100,000. Many handicappers figured Oratory would have been third choice behind Preakness winner Afleet Alex and Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo in Saturday's Belmont.

Albertrani said the Belmont "wasn't part of our intended program. He came out of the race in great condition. Today was just a maintenance work for him. We'll be looking for the Dwyer or Jim Dandy depending how he's coming up to it."

Darley Stud owns Oratory. Jim Bell, the president of Darley Stud's American division, said the long-range goal for Oratory is the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 28.

"We think he's got the quality and the talent to be a participant in the Travers," Bell said. "That would be our ultimate goal. We'll let him tell us how to get there."

Record-breaking 2-year-old works

When Belmont's main track opened Friday after the renovation break, a total of $8.5 million worth of horseflesh came onto the track, one behind the other. In front was Chekhov, the $3.3 million son of Pulpit who was scheduled to run in Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

Behind him was an unnamed Tale of the Cat 2-year-old who brought $5.2 million at the Fasig-Tipton selected 2-year-olds in training sale, a North American record for such a sale.

Godolphin Racing owns the colt, who 10 days ago came into the barn of Richard Mettee, who oversees Godolphin's New York string. The colt, out of the dam Carry All, was being sent out for his first workout and went three furlongs in 37.40 seconds.

"He's got a pretty nice way of going," Mettee said. "He's a good-looking colt and he seems to have a good mind on him."

Mettee said he was hopeful the colt would be ready to start during the Saratoga meet.

Master of Disaster to await Saratoga

Master of Disaster was scratched from Friday's Flash Stakes because his connections wanted to give the colt more time between races. Master of Disaster, who won his maiden on May 10 at Delaware Park by 13 1/4 lengths, will now be pointed to the Saratoga Special on July 28.

When Master of Disaster won his maiden, he equaled the Delaware track record for 4 1/2 furlongs and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 97.

"A 97 Beyer is a 97, regardless of how easy they do it," said trainer Steve Klesaris, who owns the colt in partnership with Jeff Puglisi. "There's bigger and better things for him down the road. I don't want to be squeezing too many starts into him this early."

Klesaris said he wants to run Master of Disaster only three or four more times this year and is pointing to a summer and fall campaign that he hopes ends in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. But can the colt stretch out in distance?

"No doubt in my mind," Klesaris answered.

Klesaris and Puglisi ran Speed of Sound in the Flash, and he finished third, beaten two noses by Beacon Shine and Union Course.

Torre, partners buy into Wild Desert

George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees owner, couldn't win the Kentucky Derby with Bellamy Road. Perhaps Yankees manager Joe Torre can win the Queen's Plate, Canada's version of the Derby.

Torre, Sanford Goldfarb, and Michael Dubb purchased about 40 percent of Wild Desert from owners Daniel Borislow and Carl Gessler. Goldfarb said the horse, who is in training at Monmouth Park, is being pointed to the $1 million Queen's Plate on June 26.

Wild Desert won 2 of his first 11 starts when in the barn of Ken McPeek. He has since been transferred to Richard Dutrow Jr. With Dutrow under suspension, his Monmouth assistant, Larry Walters, is overseeing the colt's training.

After going 2 for 8 as a 2-year-old, Wild Desert finished fifth in the Fountain of Youth, second in the Lane's End Stakes, and, most recently, eighth in the Arkansas Derby, 15 3/4 lengths behind Afleet Alex.

Prior to the Fountain of Youth in early March, Borislow purchased a majority interest in Wild Desert from Gessler.

"This is a horse you're going to hear a lot about the second half of the year," Goldfarb said.

Stewards absolve Santos

After an investigation into last Sunday's fifth race, the stewards absolved jockey Jose Santos of any wrongdoing.

Santos was aboard Thatswhy-weboughtto, who finished third in the race. In upper stretch, with the horse in contention for the win, Santos took a firm hold of the horse. In deep stretch, Santos whipped the horse three times after seeing a chance to save third place.

The stewards received many inquiries from racing fans who felt Santos didn't persevere on the horse. Santos said he felt the horse took a bad step and was trying to protect him.

In a hearing with Santos on Wednesday, the stewards pointed out to him that he "used poor judgment," according to New York Racing Association steward David Hicks. Linda Rice, the trainer of Thatswhyweboughtto, said the horse developed filling in the right front suspensory and tendon sheath. An ultrasound taken Thursday confirmed that filling, and thus no action was taken against Santos.