08/20/2007 11:00PM

Vitruvius, 2 for 2, resumes career

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Had things gone according to plan this spring, Vitruvius might have been one of Street Sense's tougher rivals in Saturday's $1 million Travers Stakes. But Vitruvius, a 3-year-old son of E Dubai, has been forced to miss most of the spring and summer due to a bad case of skin disease.

On Thursday, Vitruvius, a winner of both of his career starts, makes his return to the races in a second-level allowance race at Saratoga going 1 1/8 miles. It will be his first start since winning a first-level allowance race by 3 3/4 lengths at Aqueduct on April 11.

Vitruvius had to scratch out of the Grade 2 Peter Pan on May 20 due to the skin disease. He missed a few weeks of training before returning to the work tab on June 17 at Belmont Park. He has worked 10 times since then, including a three-furlong blowout in 36.66 seconds Tuesday morning over the Oklahoma training track.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens had originally planned to run him at the beginning of the meet, perhaps in an allowance or overnight stakes that could have propelled him to the Travers. But Jerkens thought the more prudent thing would be to exercise patience.

"I didn't think he was quite up for it, I thought we were rushing him along," said Jerkens, who trains Vitruvius for the Centennial Farms. "We gave him all that time and then we were rushing. I didn't think that was the right thing to do. I don't know if this is the right thing either, but we got to start him somewhere."

Vitruvius, a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Corinthian, will race on Lasix for the first time. He will break from post 3 under Kent Desormeaux, who finished the fourth week of the meeting on Monday having won 11 of the last 37 races run.

Vitruvius will be facing older horses, including the highly regarded Extreme Supreme from the John Ward stable. Extreme Supreme, a son of Deputy Minister, has won two races, both in the second start off a layoff. This will be his second start off a two-month freshening. He comes off a fifth-place finish behind Travers candidate Grasshopper in a second-level allowance here on July 30.

Ward thought Extreme Supreme was compromised by jockey Rafael Bejarano's attempts to take a hold of him and get him behind horses that day. Extreme Supreme will be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez on Thursday.

"If he's in a constant rhythm he's all right," Ward said. "Velasquez worked him the other day and seemed to get along with him well. It takes a different concept to ride a big horse."

Subtle Aly done for the year

Subtle Aly, who won the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes here on opening day, will not race again this year, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said.

"She's got some issues up front that will be cleared up," Dutrow said. "She just needs a little bit of a break. We could still train her and go forward, but I feel it would not be the right thing for her. She's already accomplished a lot as a 2-year-old, let's get her ready for her 3-year-old season. We want to her to be able to compete at a top level."

Subtle Aly, a daughter of French Envoy, won her debut by five lengths on June 2 at Churchill Downs. International Equine Acquisitions Holdings Inc. purchased controlling interest in her from Alan Pesch and transferred her from Steve Asmussen to Dutrow.

Despite stumbling at the start, Subtle Aly won the Schuylerville by a nose over I Promise.

Dutrow said Subtle Aly is already at the In Front Training Center, a farm in Ocala. Fla.

Hard Spun gets feel of the track

Hard Spun got his first feel for the Saratoga racetrack on Tuesday, galloping 1 1/8 miles with trainer Larry Jones aboard.

Hard Spun is expected to go off as the slight favorite in Saturday's seven-furlong Grade 1 King's Bishop Handicap despite the fact he has not run a race at under a mile since winning his 2-year-old finale at seven furlongs at Philadelphia Park on Dec. 18. Hard Spun, second in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness, is coming off a second-place finish behind Any Given Saturday in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell Invitational earlier this month.

"He sure acted like he liked the track," said Jones, who galloped Hard Spun and then cooled him out around the receiving barn shed row. "I always worry a little bit when I bring him to a new track ever since his experience at Oaklawn Park earlier this year, but I was very pleased with the way he handled it this morning. He just skipped right across it.

Hard Spun suffered the first loss of his career when fourth as the odds-on favorite in Oaklawn Park's Southwest Stakes on Feb. 19.

Hard Spun had his final work for the King's Bishop at Delaware Park on Sunday and shipped to Saratoga on Monday. Jones said he plans nothing serious for the son of Danzig during the remainder of the week.

"Because he's running seven furlongs after all those longer races, I've cut back on his gallops and he'll go only a mile and an eighth every morning the remainder of the week," said Jones. "I don't plan to blow him out unless he decides to do it himself while I'm hanging on for dear life."

Jones said although Hard Spun is shortening up to seven furlongs for the King's Bishop, his main objective remains the Breeders' Cup Classic.

"With Monmouth Park playing to speed so much, I want to put a little more speed into him before we go back there," Jones said. "His next race will be at a mile or a mile and one-eighth, although I'm not sure where or when. This way we'll be stepping up to a mile and one-quarter when we get back there for the Classic."

Along with Hard Spun, the King's Bishop field is expected to include E Z Warrior, First Defence, Forty Grams, King of the Roxy, Most Distinguished, Pauillac, Spin Master, and Teuflesberg.

Pennsylvania Derby next for Cowtown Cat

Cowtown Cat, among the nominees for the King's Bishop, will make his next start in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on Sept.o1. A son of Distorted Humor, Cowtown Cat worked five furlongs in an easy 1:03.28 under Angel Cordero Jr. in company with stablemate Glacken's Gal minutes after the renovation break on Tuesday. Cowtown Cat is coming off a fourth-place finish behind winner Street Sense in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy.

"I was very happy with his work," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "I thought he ran pretty well in the Jim Dandy and he's trained well ever since."

Pletcher said Cowtown Cat would have one more work before the Pennsylvania Derby and that Ramon Dominguez will ride him in the race.

Burmilla now with Godolphin

Burmilla has won her first four starts - including the Grade 2 Honorable Miss - in the maroon and white silks of Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable and with Eoin Harty as her trainer.

But when she runs in Sunday's Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap, Burmilla will be wearing the blue and white silks of Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin Racing and be saddled by Rick Mettee, the assistant to Saeed bin Suroor.

Harty said it's part of his job description to get horses ready to run for Godolphin.

"That's what I'm paid to do," said Harty, who won last year's Ballerina with Dubai Escapade for Darley. "It's been awhile since I've been able to produce something for them."

On Tuesday, Burmilla worked five furlongs in 1:02 over Saratoga's main track.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch