05/13/2004 11:00PM

Pletcher points Purge to Peter Pan


ELMONT, N.Y. - Purge, who was beaten by Smarty Jones the last two times he ran, will run next in the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 22.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Purge hasn't raced since finishing fifth in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 10. Purge set the pace for six furlongs in the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby before tiring and finishing 7 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Smarty Jones, who won the Kentucky Derby in his next start.

Three weeks before the Arkansas Derby, Purge made his stakes and two-turn debut in Oaklawn's Rebel and finished second as the favorite to Smarty Jones. Purge set the pace in the Rebel, but Smarty Jones rolled by him in the stretch for a 3 1/4-length victory.

"He ran super in the Rebel," Pletcher said. "It was his first time going long, he was only making his third start, and he was beaten by the Derby winner. He ran okay in the Arkansas Derby. I would have preferred that he followed somebody, but he broke a half a step slow and rushed up there and was under the gun by Smarty Jones."

In the Arkansas Derby, Pletcher removed the blinkers Purge wore in his first three starts and will keep them off for the Grade 2 Peter Pan.

"We wanted to rate him a little bit, and I just thought he didn't need [blinkers] going long," Pletcher said.

John Velazquez will ride Purge, who is owned by Starlight Stables, in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan.

A son of Pulpit, Purge won his career debut last year at Saratoga by four lengths. Surgery to remove an ankle chip in his right foreleg prevented Purge from running again last year. He returned to the races in February at Gulfstream Park and won an allowance race by three lengths.

Violette to run one in Peter Pan

Trainer Rick Violette nominated Read the Footnotes and Swingforthefences to the Peter Pan. Swingforthefences worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.61 on Friday at Aqueduct. On Saturday, Read the Footnotes was scheduled to work for the first time since finishing seventh in the Kentucky Derby.

If Read the Footnotes works to Violette's liking, he will run in the Peter Pan, and Swingforthefences will start in the Marine Stakes at Woodbine the same day. If Violette is unhappy with Read the Footnotes's work and decides not to run him in the Peter Pan, Swingforthefences, fourth in the Wood Memorial in his last start, would start in the Peter Pan.

Others under consideration for the Peter Pan, which could produce a couple of starters for the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 5, are Friends Lake, Sinister G, Master David, Consecrate, Tiger Hunt, Wild Wadi, and Zakocity.

Savoy Special is back

In Sunday's third race, the Pletcher-trained Savoy Special will make his first start since finishing third in the Fall Highweight at Aqueduct in November.

Also entered in the seven-furlong, third-level allowance race for older horses are Ministers Wild Cat, Pretty Wild, Houston's Prayer, and Suave Devil.

In eight starts last year, Savoy Special never finished worse than third. A son of Grand Slam, Savoy Special won a maiden race by 10 3/4 lengths at Belmont 12 months ago. Three weeks later, he won an allowance race by a half-length over Canadian Frontier, who became a stakes winner here two weeks ago in the Bold Ruler.

After an accident in the starting gate at Saratoga, which resulted in Savoy Special being scratched and receiving 30 stitches for a nasty gash on his leg, he returned to the races in October. After a win and a second in allowance races, Savoy Special finished third in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight.

"We thought it would do him good to have the winter off," Pletcher said. "He's had some issues [at the starting gate], but the crew here knows him well."

Hough and Robsham on hot streak

Trainer Stanley Hough and owner Joyce Robsham are on a hot streak at the Belmont meet. During the first eight days of the meet, Hough has won three races for Robsham, including the Grade 3 Bold Ruler with Canadian Frontier. Hough also trains Pretty Wild, a winner of his last start at Aqueduct on April 24 for Robsham.

After Robsham's husband, Einar, a longtime owner and breeder, died on Feb. 22 at the age of 75, his widow decided to keep the stable going.

"It's a good time for her to have some luck," said Hough, who trains 25 horses for Robsham. "The Robshams were together for a long time and did everything together, including the horses. This gives her something to look forward to."

Hough said Canadian Frontier will run back in the $200,000 True North Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 5.

Well Fancied training on

Well Fancied, eighth in his last start in the Grade 1 Carter on April 10, is being treated for a knee injury sustained in the Carter.

The injury is not keeping Well Fancied from training, according to his trainer, Richard Dutrow Jr. Dutrow said fluid was extracted from the knee on Thursday and he hopes to breeze the 6-year-old gelding in the next week.

This year, Well Fancied, a New York-bred, won the Grade 2 General George at Laurel Park and the Grade 3 Toboggan at Aqueduct.

Dutrow hopes to have Well Fancied back to the races for the $100,000-added Evan Shipman on July 25, closing day of the Belmont meet. Last year, Well Fancied won the Evan Shipman.

* Jockey Richard Migliore was sent to North Shore University Hospital after his mount in Friday's fifth race, Gold Dancer, acted up in the gate and unseated him. Migliore, who was scheduled to ride Little Matth Man in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, was complaining of pain in his right ankle. Gold Dancer was scratched.