Updated on 09/17/2011 10:28PM

Reverberate's goals exceed Peter Pan

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Giacomo, shown at Pimlico, jogged lightly in California Wednesday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Sal Russo knows all too well how the can act as a springboard to success in the Belmont Stakes.

In 1993, Russo was an assistant to trainer Scotty Schulhofer when Colonial Affair won the Belmont after finishing second in the Peter Pan. Six years later, Russo was the agent for jockey Jose Santos, who guided the Schulhofer-trained Lemon Drop Kid to victory in the Belmont, ending Charismatic's bid for the Triple Crown.

Now out on his own, Russo, 44, may be following the same path with Reverberate, a son of 1995 Belmont winner Thunder Gulch, who is scheduled to start in Saturday's Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont. While Russo is thinking more about the Travers at Saratoga in August than the Belmont Stakes on June 11, he hasn't ruled out the Belmont should Reverberate run well Saturday.

"It's not out of the question, but I think it's a lot to ask," Russo said. "He's very tall, he's still immature, but it's not out of the question."

Though Russo said Reverberate is a "completely different" horse than Colonial Affair, there are, on the surface, some similarities. Both horses are owned by Centennial Farms. Both won their maiden in their second start at 2. Both ended their 2-year-old seasons with fifth-place finishes in the Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct. Both horses seemed to have improved with the addition of blinkers and entered the Peter Pan off allowance wins.

Following the Nashua, Reverber-ate underwent a myectomy to correct a breathing problem, Russo said. After Reverberate finished third in his 3-year-old debut, at Gulfstream, Russo stretched him out to 1 1/8 miles and was reluctant to try blinkers in that spot. After the race, jockey Jerry Bailey told Russo, "If they're going to help any horse I've ever ridden, they're going to help this horse."

In his first start with blinkers, Reverberate finished second behind Noble Causeway in an allowance race at Gulfstream. Reverberate dueled between horses that day and put away two other speed horses before settling for second.

Because of travel restrictions related to the outbreak of strangles at Palm Meadows, where Reverberate was stabled, Reverberate was delayed in returning to New York. On May 8, Reverberate cleared his entry-level allowance condition with a 2 1/2-length victory at Belmont. He ran slightly faster than Chekhov, who won a maiden race earlier on the card.

Reverberate was very gritty that day, dueling for a long way with Three in the Bag before putting that one away inside the furlong marker. John Velazquez rode him that day.

"When Johnny came back, the first thing I said to him was 'John, you ride enough good horses, is this a good horse?' " Russo said. "He said, 'He's still green, but he could be a very good horse. . . . I'll tell you one thing, he wants to run all day.' "

Velazquez had made a prior commitment to trainer Shug McGaughey to ride Survivalist in the Peter Pan. Bailey is riding Oratory for Tom Albertrani. Jose Santos is scheduled to ride Reverberate.

Others pointing to the Peter Pan are Better Than Bonds, Chekhov, Golden Man, Mr Sword, and Robador.

Afleet Alex returns to track

Preakness winner Afleet Alex returned to the track on Wednesday, jogging two miles at Pimlico. Afleet Alex, who overcame an incident with Scrappy T at the top of the stretch to win last Saturday's Preakness by 4 3/4 lengths, is scheduled to van to Belmont Park on Saturday.

"He was a touch stiff the first mile, which was to be expected," said trainer Tim Ritchey, who turns 54 on Friday. "But by the time he was jogging the second mile, his ears were up and he was jogging forward and striding right out. I was ecstatic that he came out of the race as well as he has."

Ritchey said Afleet Alex would train at Pimlico the rest of the week and ship in Saturday afternoon after training.

Giacomo jogs at Hollywood

Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo returned to the racetrack on Wednesday, jogging at Hollywood Park. It was his first racetrack exercise since finishing third in the Preakness.

Trainer John Shirreffs said Giacomo will remain in light training until next week. He is being pointed for the Belmont Stakes.

"I'll train him as I normally would" after a race, he said. "I won't do an awful lot."

Southern Africa training at Arlington

Southern Africa, winner of the Lone Star Derby, is training at Arlington Park, where he breezed four furlongs in 48 seconds on Tuesday. Trainer Mike Puhich, who has horses both at Arlington and in Southern California, said Southern Africa will have his last two breezes at Arlington before shipping to Belmont four or five days before the Belmont Stakes.

"I like the centrality of Arlington," Puhich said. "He can train there, and if I want to ship to a 3-year-old stake in the East it isn't as long as a trip from California."

Jon Court is confirmed to ride Southern Africa.

Greeley's Galaxy backs off

Greeley's Galaxy, 11th in the Kentucky Derby and seventh in the Preakness, has returned to trainer Warren Stute's base at Hollywood Park and will not start in the Belmont Stakes.

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Greeley's Galaxy will be kept in light training before a decision is reached on his next start, Stute said. One consideration is the $400,000 Swaps Stakes at 1 1/8 miles here on July 9.

"We're just sitting here with him," Stute said. "We have nothing in mind. We'll back off a little bit."

Greeley's Galaxy finished 19 3/4 lengths behind Afleet Alex in the Preakness. He was the 9-1 fifth choice in the field of 14.

"He had an excuse in the Derby, but in the Preakness he did not have an excuse," Stute said.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen