09/04/2002 11:00PM

She's back: You likely to go in Ruffian


ELMONT, N.Y. - It looks like you will get to see You again this year.

You, the five-time Grade 1-winning filly, is expected to run in next Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Ruffian Handicap at Belmont Park.

On Aug. 18, the day after You finished third in the Alabama, trainer Bobby Frankel said You would not run again this year. A few days later, he backed off that comment saying she may run in the Ruffian if the field is weak. On Sunday, You worked four furlongs in 52.91 seconds over Saratoga's training track and she is expected to work again this weekend in preparation for the Ruffian.

"She came out of the race really well," Frankel said, adding that racing secretary Mike Lakow "changed my mind." Lakow told Frankel the Ruffian may not come up that strong.

Frankel may have been hoping the Ruffian would come up a little softer than it appears to be shaping up. Raging Fever, a multiple Grade 1 winner at 1 1/16 miles at Belmont, is being pointed to the Ruffian as are two-time Ballerina winner Shine Again, and Minister's Baby.

You has won four Grade 1 races this year, ranging in distance from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. Her gutty victory over Carson Hollow in the Grade 1 Test is still being talked about as one of the performances of the year.

Congrats set for Champagne prep

Congrats, an A.P. Indy juvenile colt who rallied from well back to win his maiden at first asking on July 27, meets four rivals in an entry-level allowance race at seven furlongs on Saturday's card.

Trainer Shug McGaughey is hoping to use it as a prep for the Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne Stakes here on Oct. 5.

Congrats rallied extremely wide in the stretch and ran down Outer Reef to win his six-furlong maiden race by 1 1/4 lengths at Saratoga, covering 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.61.

"He's the kind of horse that racing is going to help him, distance of ground is going to help him, next year is going to help him," McGaughey said. "He worked good up there before we left."

Congrats, who will break from the rail under Pat Day, will likely have to run down Spite the Devil, who finished third in the Sanford and Saratoga Special, and Title Contender, who showed improvement when blinkers were added last time out.

Victory Ride and Atelier headed to Spinster

Victory Ride, who won the Omnibus Stakes at Monmouth last Sunday, and Atelier, who won the Molly Pitcher at Monmouth in July, are both expected to make their next starts in the Grade 1 Overbrook Spinster Handicap at Keeneland on Oct. 6.

The Omnibus, originally scheduled for the turf, was moved to the main track and gave Victory Ride her first opportunity to race around two turns. After dueling with Tap Dance through six furlongs in 1:12.52, Victory Ride drew clear for a 2 1/2-length victory.

"I always wanted to take her two turns," trainer Rusty Arnold said. "I didn't think it was a huge race, but it was what I wanted and what we needed to go on."

Victory Ride was a bit off after finishing third in the Shuvee on May 18, and was given some time on the farm. She returned to Arnold's barn at the beginning of August and trained well at Saratoga. Arnold said the Spinster would determine whether Victory Ride goes on to the Breeders' Cup Distaff or is retired.

Meanwhile, Atelier followed up her upset of Summer Colony in the Molly Pitcher with a sixth-place finish in the Go for Wand Handicap. On Wednesday, she worked four furlongs in 48.26 seconds at Belmont, the sixth fastest of 49 moves at the distance.

"I thought we had done everything right and then we shipped her to Saratoga where she had a good four or five days, and then she didn't like it," McGaughey said. "I wasn't surprised with her race in the Go for Wand. As soon as we got back down here she turned around again. Her work yesterday was great, and she came out of it good."

Gygistar to train up to B.C. Sprint

Gygistar, who is undefeated in five starts this year, including a win in the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes, will train up to the Breeders' Cup Sprint, trainer Mark Hennig said.

"I just think it's the best thing to do for him," Hennig said. "He's doing so well, I'd rather not risk putting him over the top."

Gygistar, a 3-year-old gelded son of Prospector's Music, has won two graded stakes at seven furlongs and another at 1 1/16 miles this year. He won an entry-level allowance race going six furlongs at Gulfstream earlier this year.

Hennig also said that Summer Colony, his leading contender for the Breeders' Cup Distaff, will make her next start in the $750,000 Beldame Stakes here on Oct. 5.

French twist to Garden City

Trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias, who won the Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap with European invader Pharatta in 1998, will be represented by Spring Star for this year's running on Sunday. The Grade 1 Garden City is a 1 1/8-mile grass race for 3-year-old fillies.

Spring Star arrived from France on Tuesday and cleared quarantine on Thursday.

Spring Star, who will be ridden by John Velazquez, won two races in France this year, including the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly on June 2. In her last start, she finished eighth in the Group 2 Falmouth Stakes against fillies and mares at Newmarket July 10.

Parias said the Falmouth didn't unfold in Spring Star's favor. "There was a lot of bumping and she didn't run the right race," Parias said from France on Thursday.

All of Spring Star's races have been at a mile, but Parias doesn't anticipate a problem with the extra furlong in the Garden City. "That won't change anything," Parias said.

Parias said Spring Star likely would remain here after the Garden City and, depending upon her performance, could be pointed to races such as the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Keeneland and Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Kithira, another Garden City hopeful from Europe, arrived with Spring Star on Tuesday. After the Garden City, Kithira, who is owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Pascal Bary, is expected to stay in the United States with trainer Bobby Frankel.

The other Garden City probables are Cyclorama, Distant Valley, Mariensky, Nunatall, Pertuisane, Riskaverse, and Wonder Again. April Green is possible.

True Direction nears return

True Direction, a 3-year-old who showed promise earlier this year by winning three consecutive starts, including the Hirsch Jacobs Stakes at Pimlico, is nearing a return to the races.

Carlos Morales, True Direction's trainer, said the colt was determined to have a splint problem after finishing third in the Grade 2 Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8. Morales said the splint was freeze-fired.

True Direction turned in an impressive work over Belmont Park's training track on Thursday, getting five furlongs in 59.80 seconds, the fastest of 10 works at the distance. The second-fastest time was 1:01.83. Clockers caught True Direction galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.59. His earlier fractions were 13.31 seconds, 25.81, and 36.46.

"He's doing good; we hope to keep him sound," Morales said. Morales, who doesn't have a specific spot picked out for True Direction, said the colt should be ready to run in a couple of weeks.

Entry schedule change

With Belmont open on Monday and dark next Wednesday, there is a slight alteration to the entry schedule.

Entries for Monday's card will be taken on Saturday. Entries for Thursday, Sept. 12, will be taken on Monday. While there will be no racing on Sept. 11, entries will be taken that day for Sept. 13.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson