08/26/2007 11:00PM

Rags to Riches misses work with fever


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After enjoying about a month of uninterrupted training, Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches suffered another setback on Monday as trainer Todd Pletcher canceled a scheduled workout because the filly had an elevated temperature.

"She's acting perfect, she's bright, sharp and aggressive, but the thermometer's a little bit off," said Pletcher, who noted the filly's temperature was approaching 102 degrees.

Pletcher said the results of blood tests being performed on Rags to Riches should determine when she can resume training and if she can make the Grade 1 Ruffian at Belmont Park on Sept. 8. If she can't make the Ruffian, the Gazelle at Belmont on Sept. 15 is the back-up plan, Pletcher said.

Pletcher was originally scheduled to work Rags to Riches on Sunday, but postponed that drill because of wet track conditions.

"Now I wish I would have gone ahead and worked her and gotten it out of the way," he said Monday.

Rags to Riches had been training very well since arriving at Saratoga on July 31. She had three workouts, including a strong five-furlong move in 1:00.50 in company with Magna Graduate on Aug. 19.

Prior to coming to Saratoga, however, Rags to Riches was forced to miss the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 21 at Belmont due to a temperature and then underwent a thorough physical examination at the New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania after she was pulled up at the start of a five-furlong workout on July 22. Rags to Riches missed about a week of training and was not ready for the Alabama here on Aug. 19. But Pletcher had been very pleased with her since she started a regular training schedule earlier this month.

"We've had basically a perfect month leading up to today," he said Monday. "Obviously, the whole world's been watching her train and knows how good she's been training. This morning she's got a slightly elevated temperature. We'll see what the blood work shows, see what her temperature is the rest of the day. She's over there trying to kill everybody right now, so I can't imagine that she's very sick. By the same token you can't ignore the thermometer."

Rags to Riches is undefeated in five starts this year and became a star when she became the first filly in 102 years to win the Belmont Stakes, defeating Preakness winner Curlin by a head.