11/04/2003 12:00AM

Value Plus needs time to heal

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Value Plus grabbed the quarter on his right front foot when he stumbled and dropped jockey John Velazquez coming out of the gate in Sunday's Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Value Plus lost his footing and clipped his front foot with his right hind foot. Velazquez was not injured.

"He grabbed it pretty good," Pletcher said Tuesday. "Aside from that, he was unscathed. It could have been a lot worse. It will take the next couple of weeks to heal it up. You hate to have that happen to any horse, let alone one that is the 4-5 favorite in a $100,000 race."

Pletcher had hoped to run Value Plus, a son of Unbridled's Song, in the Grade 2 Remsen on Nov. 29. He said that is out of the question now because of the injury. Value Plus will probably run next in Florida at the Gulfstream Park meet.

Value Plus, a $1.1 million yearling purchase owned by Aaron and Marie Jones, won his debut by 8 3/4 lengths in July and then finished second in the Grade 1 Futurity at Belmont and fourth in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.

Dancal to skip Athenia for Matriarch

Dancal, a graded stakes winner trained by Pletcher, will skip Saturday's $100,000 Athenia Handicap at Aqueduct in favor of the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park on Nov. 30.

In her last start, the 5-year-old Dancal won the Grade 3 Violet by two lengths at The Meadowlands Oct. 17. Dancal also finished second in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel behind Grade 1 winner Wonder Again. Dancal, who is owned by Marion Aronstam, raced in South Africa and Dubai before coming under Pletcher's care during the summer.

"We've been pleased with her last couple of races and thought we would step it up a notch in the Matriarch," Pletcher said.

Pletcher said that Javier Castellano, who has ridden Dancal in her last three starts, has the mount in the Matriarch.

Something Ventured, another Pletcher runner, will run in the Grade 3 Athenia. Something Ventured, who finished third in the Violet, 3 3/4 lengths behind Dancal, has finished in the top three in her last six starts, all in stakes.

"She has been very consistent and fits well in the Athenia," Pletcher said.

A large field is taking shape for the Athenia, a 1 1/16-mile grass race for fillies and mares. In addition to Something Ventured, who was assigned 116 pounds, the other probable runners are Madeira Mist (117), Approach (115), Delta Princess (115), Lady Linda (115), Lojo (114), Brandala (113), Coney Kitty (113),; Artist Johanna (112), Caught in the Rain (112), and Lady Bi Bi (112).

She's Got the Beat retired

She's Got the Beat, who injured a suspensory ligament during the running of last Saturday's Turnback the Alarm and was pulled up at the quarter pole, has been retired.

Owned by Elizabeth Walsh and trained by Phil Johnson, She's Got the Beat won four starts this year and finished second in five stakes, including the Grade 1 Go for Wand and the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup.

She's Got the Beat retires with earnings of $397,096 and a record of 7-7-2 in 22 starts.

Breeding plans have not been finalized for She's Got the Beat, a 4-year-old New York-bred daughter of Sultry Song out of Judy's Magic.

Gander works bullet for Stuyvesant

Gander worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.47 seconds over Belmont Park's main track on Tuesday in preparation for the $100,000 Stuyvesant Handicap on Nov. 11.

Also working for the Grade 3 Stuyvesant was Saarland, who covered five furlongs on the main track in 1:02.74. Clockers timed Saarland galloping out six furlongs in 1:16.90.

Monday at Belmont, Stuyvesant probable Almuhathir worked five furlongs in 1:00.01.

* Jorge Chavez took off his mounts on Tuesday after pulling a muscle in his shoulder while working a horse during training hours.

* Norberto Arroyo Jr. has retained Steve Adika as his agent, effective with the start of the new condition book on Nov. 13. Adika replaces John Kolb.