09/02/2007 11:00PM

'Rags' works; next start still undecided


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches worked five furlongs in 1:02.63 Sunday morning over Saratoga's main track, but trainer Todd Pletcher said he still has not decided whether the 3-year-old filly would run in Saturday's Ruffian at Belmont Park or wait for the Gazelle, also at Belmont, on Sept. 15.

Working in company with the 2-year-old maiden winner The Leopard, Rags to Riches began about 1 1/2 lengths behind that horse, crept up alongside him around the turn, then finished a length in front at the finish. Her fractions were 13.13 seconds, 25.53, and 37.79, meaning she came home in 24.84 seconds. After the work, Rags to Riches galloped out very strongly, taking until the 5 1/2 furlong pole to be pulled up by Angel Cordero Jr.

"She worked good, I was satisfied with the breeze, we'll see how she comes out of it and make a decision when I make a decision," Pletcher said. "From a fitness standpoint I thought she looked very good. She galloped out strongly. Angel said he actually had to reach out and grab her to make her pull up when he did."

Rags to Riches missed three days of training and one scheduled workout last week when she was diagnosed with a fever of 102 degrees. She has not run since becoming the first filly in 102 years to win the Belmont Stakes.

Pletcher's options are the Ruffian against older females at 1 1/16 miles where she would face Take D' Tour, Ginger Punch, and Miss Shop, or wait for the Gazelle at 1 1/8 miles where she would meet strictly 3-year-old fillies. Nominations for the Gazelle have not yet been released. Both races would serve as preps for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff on Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park.

Pletcher did say that if Rags to Riches runs in the Ruffian she will do so as an entry with Chagall, who would serve as a pacesetter, or rabbit, to ensure an honest pace.

"Take D' Tour and Ginger Punch are both very nice fillies, we just want to make sure there's an honest pace," Pletcher said.

Pletcher said Chagall could also serve the same capacity were Rags to Riches to run in the Gazelle.