07/21/2007 11:00PM

Rags to Riches pulled up during workout

Email

ELMONT, N.Y. - A five-furlong workout by Rags to Riches was aborted shortly after it began Sunday morning when exercise rider Lauren Robson thought she felt something amiss with the 3-year-old filly. But after being examined on the track and then back at the barn, trainer Todd Pletcher said he could not find anything wrong with the Belmont Stakes winner and is hopeful he dodged a bullet.

"Lauren said she started off the breeze and something didn't feel right so she pulled her up," Pletcher said. "I don't know if she stepped on something. . . . But we got over there she was fine, we got her back [to the barn] she’s fine.

"Classify it as a head-scratcher, I guess," Pletcher added. "I just don't know."

Pletcher planned to have Dr. Steve Allday give Rags to Riches a more thorough examination on Monday at Belmont Park. At that time, Pletcher will decide whether Rags to Riches will ship to Saratoga on Tuesday as scheduled or stay at Belmont.

"I'll let him look her over and see if he notices anything, but she seemed fine back here," Pletcher said. "We jogged her up and down the shed row and she was fine. But we'll give it a day or two to make sure everything’s okay."

Sunday's work was to have been the first for Rags to Riches since she was declared out of Saturday's Coaching Club American Oaks due to a fever.

Rags to Riches came on the main track at 8:45 a.m. accompanied by her stable pony. After backing up to the seven-furlong pole, Rags to Riches got into a gallop at the 6 1/2-furlong marker. She attempted to break into her work at the five-furlong pole, but was going very slowly. After going a sixteenth of a mile, Robson pulled Rags to Riches up and jumped off the filly. An outrider quickly came to her side, before Anna Seitz, aboard Pletcher's stable pony, got there.

Pletcher, meanwhile, was watching from the grandstand. He left the area quickly and drove over to the half-mile pole. After looking at the filly and talking to Robson, he gave Robson a leg up on Rags to Riches and told her to jog the filly back home. She jogged for about a half-mile and walked back home.

"She never really went fast enough to hurt herself," Pletcher said. "I clocked her first sixteenth in [8 seconds] and she pulled up, so I didn't really think it was anything real serious. From what I could see through the binoculars she looked fine."

Rags to Riches became the first filly in 102 years to win the Belmont Stakes. After being declared from the CCA Oaks, she is being pointed to the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 18.