08/05/2007 12:00AM

Rags to Riches breezes at Saratoga

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Rags to Riches, the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in 102 years, returned to the worktab Sunday morning, breezing an easy four furlongs in 49.86 seconds over Saratoga’s main track with Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. in the irons.

While trainer Todd Pletcher said the Alabama on Aug. 18 remains an option for Rags to Riches, he hinted that he may wait for a race at Belmont such as the $300,000 Ruffian on Sept. 8 or $250,000 Gazelle on Sept. 15 for her next start.

``I would say the next work would determine whether she runs in the Alabama,’’ Pletcher said. ``There are plenty of good options. What I’m looking at is what sets her up best for the Breeders’ Cup. If she runs in the Alabama, it’s probably too far out; she’s going to need to run again. If I waited for something like the Ruffian or the Gazelle, it would be nice spacing from that to the Breeders’ Cup so we’re in good position option-wise.’’

Asked if he would prefer to run Rags to Riches just one more time before the Breeders’ Cup, to be run on Oct. 27, Pletcher said, ``You can make a case that that could set her up best for the Breeders' Cup.’’

Sunday’s work was rather routine though it was significant because it was her first breeze since being examined by three different veterinarians after she was pulled up in an aborted workout at Belmont on July 22. Prior to that, Rags to Riches missed a scheduled start in the Coaching Club American Oaks after a temperature she incurred a week earlier.

Sunday, under a cloudless sky with comfortable temperatures, Rags to Riches came onto the track on 8:45 a.m. accompanied by Pletcher atop his stable pony. The horse galloped through the stretch before Pletcher let Cordero and the filly loose.

Rags to Riches was galloping strongly before Cordero -- aboard the filly for the first time -- took a slight hold of her breaking off at the half-mile pole. Clockers timed the first quarter in 24.92 seconds and her last quarter in 24.94.

``I thought she went very well,’’ Pletcher said. `Obviously, we weren’t looking to do anything overly exciting; just let her stretch her legs a little bit. I thought she handled the track well, did everything the way I would have expected her to.’’

Another hint that Rags to Riches would likely pass the Alabama is that Pletcher said Octave, the winner of the Mother Goose and Coaching Club, would run in the Alabama ``no matter what.’’ Previously, Pletcher has said that he would like to keep Octave and Rags to Riches separated.

Octave breezed five furlongs in 1:03.53 Sunday over the main track.