07/26/2007 11:00PM

Rags to Riches back home, condition unclear


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Rags to Riches, winner of the Belmont Stakes, returned to her Belmont Park stall Thursday night, but there is still no definitive diagnosis regarding her physical condition and her chances of making the Grade 1 Alabama here on Aug. 18 are getting dimmer.

Dr. Paul Thorpe, the private veterinarian employed by Rags to Riches' owners, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, was scheduled to arrive in New York from Ireland on Saturday to look at the filly. Thorpe will evaluate the results of tests conducted on Rags to Riches earlier in the week by doctors at the New Bolton Center equine clinic in Pennsylvania.

Last Sunday, Rags to Riches, the first filly to win the Belmont in 102 years, was pulled up shortly after she began a scheduled five-furlong workout at Belmont Park. After trainer Todd Pletcher couldn't find anything wrong with her on Sunday, Dr. Steve Allday evaluated her on Monday at Belmont and declared her sound, but suggested she undergo further tests. On Tuesday, Rags to Riches vanned to New Bolton, where she underwent a complete physical.

According to Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Rags to Riches, the results of those tests "were not concrete enough to really formulate an answer" as to the filly's physical condition. Pletcher said that was why Dr. Thorpe was asked by Tabor to fly to New York and look her over.

"We got all the information together, now we'll let him analyze it," Pletcher said.

At minimum, Rags to Riches will have missed a week of training by the time Thorpe is done looking at her. That makes her prospects to run in the Alabama dim.

"It makes the Alabama less likely, but I'll guess I'll wait until Dr. Thorpe gets there to make a definite decision on whether it's possible or not," Pletcher said. "I'd still have time to breeze her twice. We'll see."

Before her training setback last Sunday, Rags to Riches had developed a fever that forced her to miss the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 21. After losing her debut last year, Rags to Riches has won five consecutive races this year including the Kentucky Oaks and the Santa Anita Oaks.