08/09/2005 11:00PM

Summerly injured, out of Alabama

Email
Horsephotos
Summerly, winning the Kentucky Oaks, is out indefinitely with a splint bone injury. Trainer Bobby Frankel has King's Drama in the Sword Dancer.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - One day after it was announced that the Coaching Club American Oaks winner Smuggler would miss the Grade 1, $750,000 Alabama Stakes here on Aug. 20, Saratoga's most prestigious stakes race for 3-year-old fillies lost another of its top contenders on Wednesday when trainer Steve Asmussen said that the Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly had been injured in a recent workout.

Summerly worked six furlongs at Saratoga on Monday, but came out of the drill with a splint bone injury, Asmussen said.

Asmussen said the amount of time Summerly would need to recover had yet to be determined. He said X-rays of the injury were being evaluated Wednesday by the veterinarian Dr. Larry Bramlage in Lexington, Ky. Regardless, though, Summerly is out indefinitely, Asmussen said.

"It's unfortunate, but she won the Oaks, so I'm not going to cry," Asmussen said Wednesday morning.

No rabbits welcome in Sword Dancer

In last month's United Nations Handicap, Better Talk Now benefited from the early pace set by his overmatched stablemate, Shake the Bank, and rallied from far back to defeat Silverfoot and Request for Parole.

Those first three finishers are scheduled to have a rematch on Saturday in the Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer at 1 1/2 miles on turf, but Better Talk Now will have to get along without a rabbit. The Sword Dancer is an invitational, and Shake the Bank has form too inferior to merit an invite.

The pace scenario might instead benefit King's Drama, who returned from an eight-month layoff to score a front-running victory last month in a money-allowance race at Belmont Park. He could be the only speed in the Sword Dancer.

"This race has no speed," said Bobby Frankel, who trains King's Drama. "And pace makes the race."

King's Drama breezed a half-mile on the main track in 49.79 seconds on Wednesday morning.

Frankel said he was considering going to the Arlington Million with King's Drama, but he would have to face pace pressure from Sweet Return and Whilly, not to mention then having to stave off Kitten's Joy.

"This is an easier race," Frankel said.

King's Drama was off from Oct. 24 until July 14 because of injuries to an ankle and a knee, Frankel said.

"He was in Florida, and he was off there," Frankel said. "We did a nuclear scan, and found a chip in an ankle and a crack in his knee, so we operated on both. He's come back very, very sound, and he looks great."

Others likely for the Sword Dancer include Dreadnaught, Meteor Storm, Relaxed Gesture, and Vangelis.

Relaxed Gesture was second in the Manhattan and Bowling Green handicaps in his last two starts.

"He can adjust to any pace," said his trainer, Christophe Clement. "He goes on good ground or firm ground."

Better Talk Now, who trains at Fair Hill, was not expected to arrive at Saratoga until Friday morning.

"I don't like to leave too early with him," said his trainer, Graham Motion. "He gets wound up."

Vanderbilt runners tune up

Botanical, Pomeroy, and With Distinction, all of whom could take on likely favorite Smokume in the Grade 2, $200,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt for sprinters on Saturday, worked Wednesday morning at Saratoga, with Pomeroy recording the morning's fastest half-mile, 46.02 seconds.

Pomeroy, trained by Patrick Biancone, comes off a 6 1/2-length victory in a fourth-level allowance race at Monmouth Park last time out. He has finished first or second in all three of his Saratoga races, including a victory in last year's King's Bishop Stakes.

Botanical comes off a runaway victory in a second-level allowance field at Belmont, but he has kept company with some of the world's best sprinters. He was third in March in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, finishing just one length behind the winner, the late Saratoga County.

"He's stepping up, but he ran against good horses in Dubai," said Rick Mettee, the New York-based assistant to Botanical's trainer, Saeed bin Suroor. "It's not like he hasn't knocked heads with good horses."

Botanical, who began his career in Great Britain, switched to the dirt only this year. He has won twice, and finished third twice, in four dirt races.

According to Mettee, Botanical worked three furlongs in 36.20 seconds on Wednesday morning, and galloped out a half-mile in 48.60 seconds, but the drill did not make the work tab.

With Distinction breezed a half-mile on the Oklahoma training track in 51.82 seconds.

The field for the six-furlong Vanderbilt is also expected to include I'm the Tiger, Kelly's Landing, Toscani, and Voodoo.

Last year's Vanderbilt was won by Speightstown, who went on to be named the Eclipse Award-winning sprinter.

Bailey back in action

Sporting a black eye, four stitches, and two Band-Aids across his nose, jockey Jerry Bailey was back in action Wednesday, two days after being injured when his mount Patriotic Diva reared up during the post parade and head-butted the Hall of Fame rider. He won with his first mount back, 3-5 favorite Archer in the second race.

Bailey on Tuesday had his nose examined in Albany, and no break was found.

Bailey was well enough on Tuesday afternoon to attend Saratoga's social event of the summer, the wedding of his agent, Ron Anderson, and local resident Kelley Sweeney, at the Saratoga Polo Association.

* High Fly, the winner of the Florida Derby, breezed a half-mile in 51.26 seconds for trainer Nick Zito. "I don't have anything picked out for him," Zito said. "I'm just trying to get him back to where he was."

* Closing Argument, the second-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, breezed a half-mile in 49.99 seconds for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

* Racing officials Rick Hammerle and Mike Harlow, representing the Oak Tree Racing Association and Santa Anita, were on the Saratoga backstretch Wednesday and were at the yearling sale Tuesday night, hustling interest in their stakes races.