05/07/2007 12:00AM

Pletcher plotting next moves


ELMONT, N.Y. - Having put the disappointment of going winless with five starters in Saturday's Kentucky Derby behind him, trainer Todd Pletcher went about the business of preparing the rest of his stable for future stakes assignments. That includes King of the Roxy, who will be Pletcher's lone starter in the May 19 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

Pletcher returned to New York on Sunday morning and Monday he was awaiting the arrival of several horses, including his quintet of Kentucky Derby starters, his Kentucky Oaks winner Rags to Riches, and King of the Roxy, who on Sunday worked five furlongs in 1:01 at Keeneland.

Pletcher went 0 for 5 in Saturday's Derby with Circular Quay (6th), Any Given Saturday (8th), Sam P. (9th), Scat Daddy (18th), and Cowtown Cat (20th). He remains winless in seven Derbies, with 19 starters.

"The position I'm in finishing second wouldn't have done me any good," said Pletcher, who has twice finished second in the Derby. "Obviously we wanted them to run better than they did."

With the exception of Scat Daddy, who emerged from the race with several scrapes and scratches on his right foreleg, all appeared to come out of their races fine.

"He got checked pretty hard at the half-mile pole, was basically stopped cold," Pletcher said. "But he was not moving forward at that point."

Pletcher had nothing planned for his five Derby runners and will wait before deciding where to point Kentucky Oaks winner Rags to Riches. The Belmont Stakes on June 9, where she would face males, is one possibility. Pletcher said Octave, the Oaks runner-up, is possible for the Acorn the same day.

Pletcher has only started one horse in the Preakness, that being Impeachment who finished third at 19-1 in 2000. Much like Impeachment, King of the Roxy doesn't figure to be well-backed at the windows against Derby one-two finishers Street Sense and Hard Spun. King of the Roxy is coming out of a second-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby.

"He's been a consistent, solid horse," Pletcher said. "The obvious question is whether or not he can get a mile and three-sixteenths. People lose sight of the fact the Preakness is still a mile and three sixteenths. It's not a short race by any means."

Many of the horses Pletcher sent to Dubai in late March returned to the worktab over the weekend, including Friendly Island, English Channel, and Honey Ryder. Pletcher said Friendly Island, who finished second in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, is being pointed to the True North Handicap on Belmont Day; English Channel, who finished 12th in the Dubai Duty Free, is likely to run in the Manhattan also on Belmont Day; Honey Ryder, who ran 11th in the Sheema Classic, is pointing to the Sheepshead Bay here on May 26.

Tagg weighs options for 'Nobiz'

All indications were that Nobiz Like Shobiz came out of his 10th-place finish in Saturday's Kentucky Derby in good order. Where he goes from here is unclear, though trainer Barclay Tagg basically ruled out running back in the Preakness.

"If I ran him again that soon, I'd run him in the Peter Pan," Tagg said, referring to the 1 1/8-mile race run at Belmont the day after the Preakness. "It goes against my nature to run them back that quick anyway. But if he's kicking the barn down maybe we'll try the Peter Pan. I might fool with him for a month or so then start looking around."

Tagg said he isn't sure whether Nobiz Like Shobiz's disappointing performance in the Derby was a result of the horse not handling the track or not wanting to run that far.

Tagg said jockey Cornelio Velasquez told him "he didn't think he handled the track. I thought he was in a very good position at the five-sixteenths pole, but [Velasquez] said he was spinning his wheels trying to stay there."

Nobiz Like Shobiz returned to New York on Monday morning.

Divine Park heading to Ohio Derby

Last year, Bernardini used a win in the Withers as a stepping-stone to an upset victory in the Preakness. Divine Park, this year's Withers winner, will not attempt to follow suit.

Divine Park will be pointed to the Grade 2, $300,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. McLaughlin's major objective with Divine Park is the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 5.

"It's just the timing," McLaughlin said. "We ran him back in three weeks [in the Withers] and you know we like [more] time. In the best case scenario, we'll do Ohio Derby, Dwyer, and Haskell, June 2, July 4, and Aug. 5."

Last year, McLaughlin ran Flashy Bull in the Ohio Derby where he finished third. Now 4, Flashy Bull has won his last two starts, including a second-level allowance race at Aqueduct on April 18. He earned a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort. Flashy Bull is being pointed to the William Donald Schaefer Handicap at Pimlico on Preakness Day.

Candy Box euthanized

Candy Box, a minor stakes winner owned and bred by Frank Stronach, broke down after finishing a five-furlong workout Monday morning at Belmont Park and had to be euthanized.

Candy Box, a 5-year-old daughter of Running Stag, was galloping out after working five furlongs in 59.43 seconds in preparation for a start in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Hendrie Stakes at Woodbine.

Trainer Bruce Levine said Candy Box fell after the work and broke her elbow. She needed to be euthanized. Exercise rider Jesus Romero was taken to a local hospital for observation.

Candy Box, a half-sister to minor stakes winners Beta Capo and Alpha Capo, finished second in the Grade 2 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct on March 24. She had a record of 4-5-0 from 13 starts and earned $205,520.

Maragh escapes serious injury

Jockey Rajiv Maragh was fortunate to escape serious injury after being thrown from his mount, Al Basha, who was en route to victory in Saturday's first race at Belmont.

Al Basha ducked in from Maragh's right-handed whip in the stretch and the jockey was thrown in the air. Maragh was kicked by his horse and did a 360-degree turn upon landing on the turf. Fortunately, he did not appear to be struck by any of the trailing horses. He was taken to North Shore University Hospital where he was examined and released by early Saturday night.

"Everything proved negative," said Joe Burdo, Maragh's agent. "He was sore [Sunday] but not as bad as he thought. We're hoping to get back working horses on Thursday."

Maragh is next scheduled to ride Saturday in Texas, where he will ride Reata's Rocket in the Lone Star Derby. After that, Maragh will spend the remainder of the summer riding at Monmouth Park.