07/11/2004 11:00PM

Seattle Fitz at full strength


ELMONT, N.Y. - Seattle Fitz, working for his next start in the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga, covered a half-mile in 48.62 seconds at Belmont Park on Monday.

Jockey Richard Migliore was aboard for the work, Seattle Fitz's second since winning the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap on June 12. The clockers timed Seattle Fitz galloping out five furlongs in 1:02. The track was listed fast.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin decided to skip the July 3 Suburban with Seattle Fitz, a 5-year-old. McLaughlin said he was glad he didn't run in the Suburban, which was won by Peace Rules.

"He does better with time in between races, and if he ran in the Suburban, it would have been a battle throughout," McLaughlin said. "Three of those horses, Peace Rules, Newfoundland, and Funny Cide, looked like winners at different points in the race. Peace Rules was very game, and Newfoundland and Funny Cide ran winning races."

Peace Rules and Newfoundland are expected to run back in the Whitney on Aug. 7.

"The Whitney will not be an easy spot," McLaughlin said. "But our horse will be 100 percent ready because this is the race we have been pointing to."

McLaughlin said he scratched Ecclesiastic out of Sunday's Dwyer because he thought it was too tough of a spot. On Monday, McLaughlin said he was happy with his decision after Medallist turned in a tremendous performance to win by 3 3/4 lengths in near track-record time.

McLaughlin said Ecclesiastic would run in either Sunday's Leonard Richards at Delaware Park or Saturday's Long Branch at Monmouth Park.

Millennium Dragon, the runner-up in Saturday's Poker at Belmont, will run next in the $150,000 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga on July 30, McLaughlin said.

Limehouse done for the year

Limehouse, who finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby, will be sidelined for the remainder of the year. Cot Campbell, the president of Dogwood Stable, said Limehouse was found to have chips in his left front ankle. The chips will be surgically removed at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., on Wednesday. Campbell said he expects Limehouse, a 3-year-old, to return to the races in 2005 for a winter campaign in Florida.

Limehouse, who is trained by Todd Pletcher, finished sixth in his last start, the Ohio Derby on June 12.

This year, Limehouse won the Grade 2 Hutcheson and Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby.

Alke to have hoof patched

Pletcher said Alke, who was scratched from Saturday's $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap because of a quarter crack, was scheduled to have his hoof patched Monday.

Alke, the likely favorite had he started in the Smile, could run next in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar on July 25.

"That is if everything goes perfect," Pletcher said.

Pletcher also scratched Forest Danger out of the Grade 3 Carry Back at Calder on Saturday. Pletcher said Forest Danger had a setback that doesn't appear to be serious. Forest Danger will be pointed to races at Saratoga, he said.

Possible stakes options at Saratoga for Forest Danger, a 3-year-old, include the Grade 2 Amsterdam on Aug. 7 and the Grade 1 King's Bishop on Aug. 28.

Amsterdam likely next for Smokume

Smokume, who won the 5 1/2-furlong Ogygian Stakes at Belmont last Friday, will be pointed to the $150,000 Amsterdam, according to his trainer, Allen Jerkens.

Smokume, a multiple stakes winner for Hobeau Farm, also won the Gilded Time Stakes at Monmouth in May.

Jerkens won the Dwyer last weekend with Medallist, who set the pace and set a stakes record of 1:40.02 for the 1 1/16 miles.

The Dwyer was the second consecutive stakes win for Medallist, who won the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct in May. In the Dwyer, Medallist earned a 112 Beyer Speed Figure.

On Monday, Jerkens said he had made no solid plans for Medallist's next start. A speedy son of Touch Gold, Medallist has yet to race around two turns. Jerkens said he would consider the Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on Aug. 7 for Medallist's next start. The Jim Dandy is a 1 1/8-mile race around two turns.

"Going two turns might be hard for him to do," said Jerkens, who trains Medallist for Robert Clay.

"It might take a while to teach him."

Meridiana sidelined

Meridiana, a graded stakes winner trained by Christophe Clement, is on the sidelines.

Clement said Meridiana came out of a work at Belmont on July 7 with "a problem."

This year, Meridiana, a 4-year-old, won the Grade 2 Orchid Handicap at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 Bewitch at Keeneland. In her most recent start, she finished third in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay on May 29.

Bowling Green field shapes up

A large field is taking shape for Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap. Among the probable starters is Kicken Kris, who will be the starting highweight at 117 pounds in the 1 3/8-mile turf race. Other expected starters are A to the Z, B. A. Way, Better Talk Now, Gigli, Host, In Hand, L'Oiseau d'Argent, Rochester, and Thompson Rouge.

On Monday at Belmont, L'Oiseau d'Argent worked four furlongs in 47.44 seconds.

Velazquez has comfortable lead

With 10 days left in the Belmont spring meet, jockey John Velazquez, who rode five winners Sunday, leads the standings with 68 winners. Edgar Prado is in second with 57 winners. Prado has been on quite a tear in out-of-town races recently, including wins in the Grade 1, $750,000 United Nations aboard Request for Parole on July 3 and last Saturday's Grade 3, $500,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on Kitten's Joy.

In the trainer's race, Pletcher, with 30 wins, has a 10-win lead over Bill Mott and Richard Dutrow. Jr.

* Storm Flag Flying, working for the Grade 1 Go for Wand at Saratoga on Aug. 1, covered a half-mile in 48.27 over Belmont's main track on Monday.

* Second Performance, scheduled to run in Sunday's Lexington, worked a half-mile in 50.88.