05/12/2007 12:00AM

'Roxy' solid in work; Teuflesberg out

Email
Mathea Kelley/Horsephotos
King of the Roxy

ELMONT, N.Y. - When a horse is beaten less than a length in the Santa Anita Derby, that is usually good enough to earn him a start in the Kentucky Derby. But the connections of King of the Roxy opted to be more prudent and decided the colt's best chance at winning a classic race would be in the Preakness.

At 1 3/16 miles, the Preakness is a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Derby and figures to have half the number of starters. Thus far, it appears patience has paid off for King of the Roxy, who completed preparations for Saturday's $1 million Preakness by working six furlongs in 1:14.87 Saturday morning over the Belmont Park training track.

King of the Roxy was one of two Preakness starters to work on Saturday, a day in which the Preakness field shrunk to eight confirmed runners. Xchanger, winner of the Federico Tesio, drilled five furlongs in 59.40 seconds over the Tapeta surface at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland.

Meanwhile, the connections of Teuflesberg, the 17th-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, have decided to skip the Preakness while D. Wayne Lukas said Flying First Class - and not Starbase - would be his only Preakness runner. Other confirmed runners include Kentucky Derby 1-2-3 finishers Street Sense, Hard Spun, and Curlin, as well as C P West and Mint Slewlep. A Sunday-morning workout was to determine the status of Chelokee.

King of the Roxy, a son of Littleexpectations, won the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont as a 2-year-old before finishing a well-beaten eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, his first start around two turns.

King of the Roxy got very sick when he first arrived in south Florida this winter, delaying his seasonal debut until March 3 ,when he came from off the pace to win the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes - a one-turn, 7 1/2-furlong race - by 2 1/4 lengths. He then shipped to Southern California for the Santa Anita Derby, in which he had a wide trip most of the way, made a short lead in midstretch, but was outfinished by Tiago and finished second. It was his first start at 1 1/8 miles.

"At the eighth pole, I thought he was going to win. At the sixteenth pole, I could tell Tiago was revving up," said Todd Pletcher, trainer of King of the Roxy. "He's probably the kind of horse that's not real well suited to make the lead too early in a race. He has a tendency to idle a bit when he makes the lead."

King of the Roxy also is not an aggressive work horse, which is one reason why Pletcher put him in company with Sunriver, last year's Peter Pan Stakes winner who is pointing to Saturday's William Donald Schaefer at Pimlico.

King of the Roxy, with Garrett Gomez up, started about a length behind Sunriver, who had John Velazquez in the irons. After sitting off Sunriver for the first three furlongs - in which King of the Roxy just shaded 38 seconds - King of the Roxy drew on even terms by the quarter pole, and the two finished together in a final quarter-mile of 24.59 seconds.

King of the Roxy galloped out past Sunriver, and Pletcher caught him galloping out a mile in 1:41.40.

"He's not a horse that necessarily touts himself in the morning, so I thought that was a very good work for him," Pletcher said. "He's held his condition really well, almost to the point where that's why I wanted to go six [furlongs] with him this morning - make sure I got a solid work into him."

Pletcher knows that King of the Roxy will have to put forth the best effort of his career to have a chance to win the Preakness.

"I do think he is a very honest horse and he will go over there and give us everything that he has, and we have to hope that that's good enough,"he said.

Teuflesberg to shorten up

Jamie Sanders, part-owner and trainer of Teuflesberg, said she and her partners will not run Teuflesberg back in two weeks in the Preakness off his 17th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Instead, the horse will be pointed to the Grade 2, $250,000 Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day. The Woody Stephens is run at seven furlongs.

Teuflesberg, who won the Southwest Stakes this year, has already made 16 starts in his career.

"We did this for Teuflesberg," Sanders said Saturday afternoon. "He's got a long career in front of him. He's a very sound and healthy horse, and we didn't feel like it's the right thing to run him back in two weeks."

Xchanger pleases Shuman

At Fair Hill, Xchanger breezed five furlongs in 59.40 seconds over the Tapeta Footings synthetic track. Exercise rider Anissa Butler, the fiancee of trainer Mark Shuman, was aboard for the work.

Shuman said he put another horse out in front of Xchanger to get him into the work, but said that Xchanger basically worked on his own. Xchanger is coming off a 4 3/4-length win in the Federico Tesio at Pimlico on April 21.

"Everything's coming together with this horse," Shuman said. "He hasn't missed a beat since that race. I think he's moved forward. All systems go."

If Chelokee doesn't run, Shuman will have Ramon Dominguez to ride Xchanger. If Chelokee does run, Shuman will be in need of a jockey.

* Jockey Edgar Prado is confirmed to ride C P West in the Preakness. Prado has finished third aboard C P West all three times he has ridden him including in the Withers Stakes last month.

* Mint Slewlep, fourth in the Withers Stakes, was to have shipped from Bowie Race Course to Pimlico on Sunday and is scheduled to have a timed workout on Monday. Trainer Robbie Bailes has named the New York-based Alan Garcia to ride.

* Wednesday's post position draw at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore has been moved up 30 minutes and will now be aired on ESPN2 in a one-hour show beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.