07/08/2007 11:00PM

Rags to Riches's slow drill of little concern to Pletcher


Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches breezed five furlongs over Belmont Park's main track Sunday morning in 1:04.01 under regular exercise rider Lauren Robson.

She will likely have one more workout before her next start in the Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/4 miles July 21 at Belmont.

Distance should not be a problem for Rags to Riches, one of only three fillies to beat the boys in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont.

While the latest workout was nothing sensational, the 29th fastest of the 31 at the distance over the surface that morning, it was right on schedule for trainer Todd Pletcher.

"It was very good," Pletcher said. "It was almost identical to what she did before the Belmont. She was nice and relaxed and galloped out real strong."

Pletcher said the next work may go a little quicker.

"Maybe a little bit, but she seems to run well off moderate works, so we're not looking to change anything," Pletcher said.

It is not clear at this point how many challengers Rags to Riches will face in the CCA Oaks but the number will likely be small.

"It doesn't bother me as long as they use the race," Pletcher said. "I don't mind a walkover, but I nominated enough horses to ensure they'd use the race."

Of the 23 nominees, six are trained by Pletcher. In addition to Rags to Riches, Pletcher nominated Mini Sermon, Octave, Panty Raid, Peerless, and Prom Party.

Pletcher off to record start

Rags to Riches is only one of the stars propelling Pletcher to another record-shattering season.

Despite missing the first 40 days of the year due to a medication suspension, Pletcher is on pace to break all the records he set last year for stakes wins and purse money earned.

Distorted Reality's victory in Sunday's Lexington at Belmont was Pletcher's 55th stakes win of the year. Last year, he won a record 100 stakes. Though the Lexington was not a graded event, Pletcher has won 34 graded stakes in 2007. Last year, he set a record for graded stakes wins in one year with 57.

With three wins from four starters around the country Sunday, Pletcher's runners had earned $13,697,689 through the weekend. Last year, he set a record for purse money with $26,820,243.

Pletcher, who turned 40 last month, ranks fourth on the all-time list of purse money won by trainers with $128,307,727.

Contessa ready for Saratoga

The Saratoga meet, which gets underway July 25, has turned into a Pletcher showcase with his five consecutive titles.

While recognizing he is not likely to threaten Pletcher's reign, trainer Gary Contessa is very upbeat heading into Saratoga. The undisputed king of Aqueduct's winterized inner track, Contessa is raring to hit Saratoga.

"I have the best stable of my life," Contessa said. "I have more quality horses in this barn than I've ever had. I'm going into the Saratoga meet, by my standards, incredibly strong. You can't beat Pletcher, but I'd be happy if all the horses ran good. Accountforthegold is one of the best New York-breds around and Papi Chullo might be good enough to win the Whitney. I think we have a great group of horses going up to Saratoga."

Contessa will have a 30-horse contingent on the grounds at Saratoga and plans to rotate in horses from his year-round Aqueduct base.

Pletcher won the Saratoga title last year with 24 wins. Contessa was seventh in the standings with eight.

- additional reporting by David Grening