07/21/2005 11:00PM

Pletcher looks ahead to the Spa

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Adieu, winning the Astoria, could be the favorite in Wednesday's Adirondack at Saratoga.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Whether or not he rallies to win the Belmont Park trainer title, Todd Pletcher won't put up the gaudy numbers here that he has the last three summers.

Heading into the final weekend of the meet, Pletcher's 19 wins from 89 starters were good enough for a third-place tie in the standings, two behind Bill Mott and one behind Juan Rodriguez. Pletcher, who was tied with Christophe Clement, had two horses scheduled to run on Saturday's card and three on Sunday's closing-day card.

In the previous three Belmont summer meets, Pletcher went a combined 103 for 390, including a Belmont spring meet record 40 wins from 133 starters in 2003. A cutback in stalls in New York, prompted by the creation of a race-day security barn, forced Pletcher to open up a string at Delaware Park this year. Pletcher is 10 for 40 this year at Delaware.

"The total number of starts we've had are about the same," Pletcher said. "We've just had less starters in New York. The detention barn made it more difficult to ship here. You'd have to leave the day before or 2 a.m. from Delaware. It's a lot more complicated, so we've chosen to run some of those horses at Delaware. We've tried to run the ones we felt like fit in New York, in New York."

On Wednesday, racing returns to Saratoga, where Pletcher has won a remarkable 35 races at each of the last two meets (one of his winners from 2004 was later disqualified for a drug positive). He doesn't anticipate as large a drop off in the number of starters at Saratoga as he had at Belmont, but it remains to be seen whether he can duplicate his amazing rate of success.

Pletcher will have plenty of action early in the meet, as he plans to send out Adieu in Wednesday's $150,000 Adirondack Stakes, Ready's Gal in Friday's $150,000 Lake George Stakes, Flower Alley in Saturday's $500,000 Jim Dandy, and Ashado in the $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap on July 31.

Adieu, who is 2 for 2, including a victory in the Astoria Stakes, could be favored in the Grade 2 Adirondack, run at six furlongs. She won the Astoria after missing some time because of a minor injury following her maiden win at Keeneland in April.

Fifth Avenue, winner of the Fashion Stakes, and Little Miss Zip, an impressive first-out winner here June 15, are Adieu's major competitors in the Adirondack.

A daughter of More Than Ready, Ready's Gal was one of the many 2-year-old debut winners saddled by Pletcher last summer at Saratoga. After running second in the Grade 1 Frizette, Ready's Gal was injured preparing for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. When she didn't train as well on the dirt this year as last, Ready's Gal was transferred to the turf, where she has blossomed again. In her turf debut, Ready's Gal won the Little Silver Stakes at Monmouth Park.

"Some of the More Than Readys fared well on turf, and she just hadn't trained the same on dirt," Pletcher said. "We ran her [on dirt] at Churchill and she ran okay, and then we brought her back here and she didn't respond the way we thought she would. The turf made a huge difference."

Flower Alley, second behind Roman Ruler in the Grade 2 Dwyer, worked a solid five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Tuesday. Flower Alley could vie for favoritism in the Jim Dandy with Belmont Stakes runner-up Andromeda's Hero.

Youngsters can keep Hushion hot

Trainer Mike Hushion was hoping to cap off a stellar Belmont meet with a victory in Sunday's Evan Shipman Stakes with Seeking the Glory, but Seeking the Glory is suffering from a quarter crack that will sideline him indefinitely.

Still, that's one of the few hiccups Hushion endured this summer. Hushion is 17 for 56 at this meet, good enough for fifth place in the trainer's standings.

Hushion said he hopes to keep the good times rolling at Saratoga, where he hopes to unveil some 2-year-olds as well as unraced 3-year-olds.

Hushion will take some shots in stakes, but he believes he's taking legitimate shots. He plans to run the maiden Parkhimonbroadway in Thursday's $150,000 Saratoga Special for 2-year-olds. Parkhimonbroadway, a New York-bred son of Ecton Park, finished third in his debut, but broke extremely slowly and finished very strong.

"He walked out of the gate, circled the field, and was third," Hushion said, adding that Parkhimonbroadway could have won with a better trip.

Hushion will run Mr. Congeniality in the Jim Dandy. Mr. Congeniality, a son of Chester House, finished fourth in the Dwyer. Nothing But Fun, 2 for 2, will be pointed to the Grade 1 Test on Aug. 6.

"I know they'll be longshots, but none that I don't feel good about bringing over there," Hushion said.

Of his 2-year-olds, Hushion is particularly high on Philly Frenzy, an unraced New York-bred son of David.

Board rules on Paragallo

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board ruled Friday that Ernie Paragallo is ineligible to apply for an owner's license for one year because of an unpaid financial obligation.

Paragallo said he is not too concerned about it, however, because he does not possess an owner's license, nor does he want one. Paragallo, 47, is licensed as the authorized agent for Paraneck Stable, which is officially listed under his daughter Jennifer's name.

According to the board, Paragallo has a judgment against him from the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Equine Center. Joe Lynch, the board's chief of racing operations, said Paragallo's authorized agent's license was not affected by Friday's ruling.

"He is precluded from being licensed as an owner for a year," Lynch said. "He can reapply once he shows proof that he satisfied the bill."

Paragallo expressed disdain for the board, using several expletives when asked to comment about the ruling.

"I don't respect them, I don't respect their position," said Paragallo, who said he purposely let his owner's license expire in late March. "They don't have any control over me. Maybe when they get a new racing board I'll reapply."

Paraneck Stable was the leading owner during Aqueduct's inner-track meet. Paraneck campaigned 1999 champion sprinter Artax as well as the Grade 1 winner Unbridled's Song.

Board ups Arroyo's suspension

The board increased to 15 days a careless riding suspension for Norberto Arroyo Jr., who had originally received a 10-day suspension for his ride March 11 at Aqueduct.

According to Lynch, racing and wagering board chairman Michael Hoblock "would like to see progressive penalties" to riders who accrue multiple infractions for the same incident. Before and since March 11, Arroyo has incurred careless riding suspensions for which he was suspended 3 to 7 days.

Lawyers for Arroyo have indicated to the board that Arroyo will appeal this decision.