05/30/2007 11:00PM

Pletcher faces decision on Belmont


ELMONT, N.Y. - Carl Nafzger could have made things very easy for trainer Todd Pletcher had he decided to run Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense in the Belmont Stakes.

But with Nafzger announcing Thursday that Street Sense would skip the Belmont, Pletcher now has a decision to make regarding whether to run his fabulous filly Rags to Riches against the boys in the Belmont.

Rags to Riches would add some spice to a race that is now down to five starters - Curlin, Hard Spun, Imawildandcrazyguy, Tiago, and Slew's Tizzy. Rags to Riches, a daughter of Belmont winner A.P. Indy and a half-sister to Belmont winner Jazil, has won four straight starts, including the Santa Anita Oaks and the Kentucky Oaks.

Pletcher said he had no intention of running Rags to Riches in the Belmont had Street Sense, Curlin, and Hard Spun all shown up for the race. But now he will watch his filly breeze Sunday before making a final decision a day or two later. Pletcher also is keeping his options open regarding Circular Quay for the Belmont, but Rags to Riches would be more intriguing.

"She's obviously a special filly, she's obviously bred for the Belmont being by a Belmont winner out of a Belmont producer," Pletcher said. "But there are a lot of big races for her to run in without running in the Belmont. I don't want to jeopardize her chances of winning those races down the road. It makes it interesting, anyway."

Pletcher was referring to races such as the Mother Goose at Belmont on June 30 and the Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 18.

Pletcher said Michael Tabor, owner of Rags to Riches and Circular Quay, would be "happy with what whatever decision I make."

Meanwhile, Pletcher is making plans for some of his other 3-year-olds. Any Given Saturday, who finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby, has recovered from a foot bruise and is on schedule for a start in the $150,000 Dwyer Stakes on July 4. Pletcher said the Dwyer also is possible for King of the Roxy, sixth in the Preakness.

Pletcher said Scat Daddy could have his first post-Derby workout Sunday. Scat Daddy, who finished 18th in the Derby, got pretty roughed up in that race.

"He had a lot of cuts, scrapes, scratches, and it's taken a little while for us to get him back to where we want him to be," Pletcher said.

Pletcher said Lawyer Ron, third in the Metropolitan Handicap, would likely be pointed straight to the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on July 28.

Chalky pick six returns $2,423

Thursday's pick six turned into a chalkplayer's paradise, with four favorites and two second choices winning. Still, buoyed by a $262,675 carryover, the pick six returned a generous $2,463. There were 377 winning tickets.

The winning combination of 5-5-9-4-4-6 consisted of Unigold ($7.50), Winsomeways ($5.50), Justy ($3.60), Michelle the Great ($10.60), Makderah ($4.60), and Katnik ($9). There were 5,867 consolation tickets, which returned $38.20 each.

In addition to the carryover, there was $1,187,374 wagered into the pool Thursday.

Vacare may go to N.Y. Handicap

Vacare, who suffered her first defeat when third behind Citronnade and Price Tag in Monday's Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup at Hollywood Park, returned to New York in good order and may point to the Grade 2, $250,000 New York Handicap, trainer Christophe Clement said.

"She looks good, a bit tired from the trip and the race," Clement said. "We'll keep her eligible to everything. On paper, the New York Handicap is pretty attractive. We'll see how she works."

Vacare, who won the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth last fall for Chris Block and the Magna Distaff Handicap in her only start for Clement, may have been compromised by a slow pace.

"Pace or no pace, the first two were very impressive," Clement said.

Divine Park gets 60 days of rest

Divine Park, the undefeated 3-year-old who was forced to miss the Ohio Derby with a left hind ankle issue, will be given 60 days off, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. The horse was sent to Dr. Larry Bramlage at the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic, and though no specific problems were found, the recommendation was two months out of training.

"Everything X-rayed clean, but the scintigraphy lit up in a couple of places," McLaughlin said. "Dr. Bramlage suggested giving him 60 days off. We stopped just before we had an injury."

McLaughlin said Divine Park would head to the farm for about 45 days before returning to the barn sometime during the Saratoga meet.

Divine Park had won his first three starts, including the Grade 3 Withers Stakes.

Nobiz Like Shobiz, Sightseeing work

Though neither is expected to run in the Belmont Stakes, Wood Memorial one-two finishers Nobiz Like Shobiz and Sightseeing were on the track for workouts Thursday. Both horses are being pointed to the $150,000 Dwyer.

Nobiz Like Shobiz, who beat Sightseeing by a half-length in the Wood Memorial, worked five furlongs in 1:00.80. Sightseeing went a half-mile in 50.01 seconds.

Remarkable News's future not clear

Remarkable News, winner of the Grade 2 Dixie Handicap at Pimlico, worked four furlongs in 49.81 seconds Thursday over Belmont's main track. It's not clear where he will race next.

Initially, trainer Angel Penna Jr. was pointing him to the Poker Handicap. The Poker has typically been run the first week of July, but this year it is scheduled for July 14. That is only three weeks out from the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga, a race that is definitely on Penna's radar.

"I want to run him in the Poker, but that is too close to the Fourstardave," Penna said. "I'm up in the air."

One possible spot is the Grade 2, $250,000 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 30. There also is the $100,000 Sussex Stakes at Delaware Park on June 23.

* Songster, impressive winner of the Bold Ruler Handicap, worked three furlongs in a leisurely 39.88 seconds on Thursday. He is being pointed to the $150,000 Tom Fool Breeders' Cup Handicap on July 4.