05/31/2007 12:00AM

Street Sense as good as ever

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Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Street Sense, with Calvin Borel, breezes four furlongs in 49 seconds Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs. His owner, Jim Tafel, was scheduled to announce Thursday morning whether the Kentucky Derby winner will run in next weekend's Belmont Stakes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense had his first workout since finishing second in the May 19 Preakness when he breezed a half-mile Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs in 49 seconds under regular rider Calvin Borel.

Trainer Carl Nafzger said that he would relate his impressions of the work to Street Sense's breeder-owner, Jim Tafel, who in turn was scheduled to make the final decision about whether the colt will run in the third leg of the Triple Crown, the June 9 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York. A media conference to announce that decision was scheduled for Thursday morning.

"Carl and I have talked about it, and we're going to talk again in the morning, and then we'll announce what our decision is at the press conference," Tafel said Wednesday from his Boynton Beach, Fla., residence.

Over a fast track, and shortly after 7 a.m. Eastern, Street Sense proceeded smoothly through fractions of 12.80, 24.60, and 36.60 seconds before hitting the wire in 49 and galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.80.

"Carl has him on the right track," Borel said afterward. "He told me what to do, and I went out there and did it. Carl said have fun, play a little, [check for] soundness, switch leads. He's as good as before or better. He's improving, getting better with every race. He was just galloping out there this morning."

Nafzger declined to give any indications about which way Tafel is leaning in regard to running in the Belmont. He said the work went perfectly, which "makes Mr. Tafel's decision harder."

"I'll give him all the input," Nafzger said. "There's a two-way issue in play here: a horsemen's side and an economic side."

Earlier Wednesday, Curlin, the Preakness winner and a definite Belmont starter, galloped one mile at Churchill Downs in his first day back on the track since a Monday breeze in which he went five furlongs in 1:03.20.

"Nice and easy," said assistant trainer Scott Blasi, who accompanied Curlin to and from the track astride his pony. Trainer Steve Asmussen watched from a viewing stand at the gap near the six-furlong pole.

Also at Churchill, Sedgefield, the fifth-place Derby finisher who had been under consideration as an outside possibility for the Belmont, has been found to have a small chip in his left front ankle and will be operated on Monday by Dr. Larry Bramlage at the Rood and Riddle equine clinic in Lexington, Ky. The colt will be sidelined for about five weeks, according to trainer Darrin Miller.

"After he breezed Monday, I didn't like the way the ankle looked [Tuesday]," said Miller. "He had a little filling in there. The chip is very minor, very manageable. We're looking at two weeks off, then three weeks of hand-walking, then back on the track."

Miller had been saying that Sedgefield was more likely to run Saturday in the Ohio Derby at Thistledown than in the Belmont, but obviously the Ohio Derby is out, too.

Also Wednesday, Hard Spun galloped 1 1/2 miles at Delaware Park in Stanton, Del., "after jogging maybe a quarter-mile," said his trainer, Larry Jones, who was aboard the Danzig colt. Jones said Hard Spun is scheduled to ship Saturday to Belmont and will probably have a workout there Monday.

A small field is taking shape for the 139th Belmont. Besides Curlin, Hard Spun, and possibly Street Sense, the only other confirmed prospects for the 1 1/2-mile race are Imawildandcrazyguy, Tiago, and Slew's Tizzy. Neither of the Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Circular Quay and Rags to Riches is likely to start.

Belmont Stakes on radio

Horse Racing Radio Network, a Lexington, Ky.-based national radio company that presents Thoroughbred stakes each week, has purchased exclusive radio rights to the 2007 Belmont Stakes and will broadcast the race to 18 markets in the United States, including New York and Los Angeles. The company will broadcast a 90-minute program featuring the Belmont and select undercard races, starting at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. A list of stations carrying the broadcast is available at www.equineforum.net.

- additional reporting by Glenye Cain Oakford