09/18/2001 11:00PM

Where do Left Bank, Balto Star go next?


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher was mulling over a couple of options Tuesday for two of his graded stakes winners, Left Bank and Balto Star, who are nominated to stakes at Belmont Park this weekend.

Pletcher said he had not decided whether he will run Left Bank in Saturday's $300,000 Vosburgh, a Grade 1 prep for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 27, or await the $250,000 Forest Hills Handicap, another prep on Oct. 7.

Pletcher said the timing of the seven-furlong Vosburgh is not perfect for Left Bank, who last ran in the $250,000 Forego Sept. 1 at Saratoga, where he finished second behind Delaware Township. In his previous race, on Aug. 13 at Saratoga, Left Bank won a money allowance race by 7 3/4 lengths, covering the six furlongs in a quick 1:08.53.

"He ran two big races back to back," said Pletcher, who won the Vosburgh last year with Trippi. "I think seven furlongs suits him, but it's quick back after the Forego. As a rule, he does better with more time between races. The Vosburgh is also a little farther out from the Breeders' Cup than you would like it."

Left Bank worked a half-mile in 51.14 seconds, breezing, at Saratoga on Monday.

Pletcher said he also has a decision to make regarding the next start for Arkansas Derby winner Balto Star. Balto Star, who earlier this year won the Turfway Park Spiral by 12 3/4 lengths over a sloppy track, is nominated to Sunday's $200,000 Jamaica Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile grass race for 3-year-olds at Belmont. Balto Star is also nominated to Saturday's $400,000 Kentucky Cup Classic, a 1 1/8-mile dirt race at Turfway for 3-year-olds and up.

Pletcher tried Balto Star, a front-runner, on the grass for the first time at Saratoga earlier this month and the gelding was an easy winner of a fourth-level allowance race.

"We were pleased with the way he ran on the grass, but he ran well at Turfway when he ran there," said Pletcher, who indicated he would talk to Balto Star's owner, Stuart Subotnick, before deciding between the Jamaica and the Kentucky Cup Classic.

Krieger to go in Jamaica

After watching Krieger work sharply Tuesday morning over the Belmont turf, trainer Joe Orseno said he has no doubts where his

3-year-old will run next: the Grade 2 Jamaica.

Krieger worked five furlongs in 59.94 seconds, the fastest of four works at the distance.

Since being equipped with blinkers, Krieger has won his last two starts in allowance company at Saratoga. In one of those races, Krieger defeated Blazing Fury, who returned to win the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga.

"Krieger is an up and coming

3-year-old," Orseno said. "We're pretty excited about his future. The blinkers helped him dramatically. Even though he was in front the whole way, he was much more relaxed in those races.

"If he handles [stakes company], we talked about the Breeders' Cup Mile, but we don't know about the points and there are other options for him," Orseno added. "We'll get past the first hurdle and that's the Jamaica."

Sharp Performance has filling

Trainer Dave Donk said Sharp Performance, who would have been a major contender in the Jamaica, will not start because of a filling in his leg.

Sharp Performance finished third, beaten a half-length by Startac, in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park in his last start on Aug. 18. Earlier in the summer, Sharp Performance won the Grade 3 Lexington in only his fourth career start.

"We'll back off and wait a little bit," Donk said. "He's had a couple of days off from training. I think his best is in front of him, so I'm not too concerned about missing this race."

Donk said it's possible Sharp Performance will be ready to return to the races for the $150,000 Lawrence Realization on Oct. 13.