05/21/2007 12:00AM

Pletcher filly may try Belmont


ELMONT, N.Y. - Aside from a rematch between Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and Preakness winner Curlin, the next-best scenario for the June 9 Belmont Stakes would be the presence of the talented 3-year-old filly Rags to Riches.

Rags to Riches returned to the work tab on Monday, drilling four furlongs in 48.24 seconds, her first move since winning the Kentucky Oaks on May 4. A half-sister to Belmont Stakes winner Jazil by Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy, Rags to Riches remains a possibility to start in the $1 million Belmont, her trainer, Todd Pletcher, said Monday.

"I would say we're sitting right on the middle of the fence,'' Pletcher said in his barn office. "We're going to monitor two things basically, how she trains and who shows up, then make a decision.''

Pletcher said if Street Sense, Curlin, and Hard Spun all run in the Belmont, Rags to Riches would wait for the Grade 1 Mother Goose on June 30. If only two of the three run, he would consider it more strongly and even stronger still should only of the top three run in the Belmont.

Pletcher agreed that the timing would be "a bit of an edge'' for Rags to Riches in the Belmont, but he marveled over how well Street Sense, Curlin, and Hard Spun have withstood the rigors of the Triple Crown.

"It looks to me like physically those three horses are holding up really well,'' he said. "All three looked unbelievably good in the paddock the other day. I haven't seen them since the Preakness, but it looked like going into it they all three looked very good.''

Pletcher said Rags to Riches came out of her dominant victory in the Oaks in good order and he was pleased with the work she put in on Monday, one in which she bested stablemate Ready's Image by about two lengths.

"I thought she worked extremely well, galloped out very good,'' Pletcher said.

"She's come out of it very well. She's pure class, you know, she's easy to train. She goes as fast or slow as you want her to go at anytime.''

Pletcher's Triple Crown record dropped to 0 for 28 with the Preakness finishes of Circular Quay (fifth) and King of the Roxy (sixth) last Saturday. While Pletcher said King of the Roxy would most likely be cut back in distance - perhaps in the Dwyer on July 4 - he didn't rule out Circular Quay from running in the Belmont.

"I think he ran actually a little better than he ran in the Derby; closed the gap a little bit,'' Pletcher said. "The problem for him is he has a similar running style to Curlin and Street Sense. He's kind of lagging two or three lengths behind them then at the half-mile pole; when they quicken he takes a little longer to get going. He's actually gaining from the quarter pole to the wire, but for him the race is over between the half-mile pole and the quarter pole.''

Among the bevy of horses Pletcher worked on Monday was Cowtown Cat, the last-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, who went five furlongs in 1:00.12 with A.P. Arrow. Cowtown Cat is pointing to the Ohio Derby on June 2.

Sightseeing likely to pass Belmont

Trainer Shug McGaughey believes Sightseeing may one day be good enough to compete with the likes of Street Sense, Curlin and Hard Spun, but he's not sure that day is June 9.

Though Sightseeing, under Edgar Prado, showed great determination to win Sunday's Grade 2 Peter Pan by a nose over Prom Shoes, trainer Shug McGaughey is leaning against running him back in the Belmont. McGaughey is likely to let Sightseeing continue to develop and aim for the two-turn races at Saratoga such as the Jim Dandy and Travers.

"He shows more ability in the morning than he's showing in the afternoon so far,'' McGaughey said. "But I'm still pleased with his race. He won [his] nonwinners-of-two in a Grade 2 stakes.''

McGaughey already decided to skip the first two legs of the Triple Crown even after Sightseeing ran second to Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Wood Memorial last month at Aqueduct. McGaughey said he believes Sightseeing is taking "baby steps'' in his mental development, something he hopes will improve by the summer.

"I think two turns up there will help him too,'' McGaughey said, referring to Saratoga. "[Prado] said he was very relaxed going down the backside, right where I want him to be. When he asked him he said it took him three or four jumps to figure out what [Sightseeing] wanted him to do. Then he leveled off and come on good.''

McGaughey said if he elects to skip the Belmont, it is possible Sightseeing could run in the Dwyer.

Prom Shoes and Fearless Vision, beaten a nose and a neck, in the Peter Pan, are unlikely to run back in the Belmont. Prom Shoes, trained by Jinks Fires, boarded a van bound for Louisville at 11 a.m. Monday. Fires said the Belmont was unlikely, unless the field changed dramatically.

Pat Reynolds, trainer of Fearless Vision, also was inclined to pass.

"As of today we're not really looking at the Belmont,'' Reynolds said. "It's a quick turnaround, it's a lot to ask. The Triple Crown is no duck walk. We'll pick out a spot that suits him.''

Meanwhile, the connections of Wood winner Nobiz Like Shobiz said the Belmont is an option. The colt, who finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby, worked four furlongs in 48.42 seconds last Friday. He worked without blinkers, equipment he has raced and trained in since finishing third in the Fountain of Youth. It is possible he could race without them in his next start.

Flashy Bull eyes Salvator Mile

Flashy Bull, a game head winner over Hesanoldsalt in Saturday's Grade 3 William Donald Schaefer Handicap at Pimlico, will be pointed to the Grade 3, $150,000 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park on June 23, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Monday.

In taking the Schaefer, Flashy Bull won his third consecutive race and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 107 after running 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.86.

"He's improved a lot from last year,'' McLaughlin said. "We stopped on him in the summer right after the Haskell - not a forced stop just to give him a little time. It's worked out great; he's come back a different horse. The Salvator Mile would be good timing; it's five weeks.''

The Salvator Mile will also give McLaughlin a line on how Flashy Bull handles the Monmouth Park main track. Monmouth hosts the Breeders' Cup in the fall and there is a new one-mile race worth $1 million to be run on Oct. 26.