07/29/2005 11:00PM

Wonder Again headed to Beverly D.


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Jimmy Toner felt there were too many obstacles for Wonder Again in Saturday's Grade 1 Diana Stakes, so he scratched her from that race and instead will point her to the Grade 1 Beverly D. on Aug. 13 at Arlington Park.

In no particular order, Toner cited Wonder Again's outside post, a weight concession to several top contenders in the field, an extremely firm turf course, and the race-day security barn as reasons he opted to scratch.

"I'm only going to run a few more times," Toner said. "I'd like to make sure everything is right when we do run."

Wonder Again, who won the Diana last year over yielding turf, had the outside post in the 10-horse field, though two other horses - Finery and Spotlight - also scratched. She was conceding two pounds to Film Maker, a multiple graded stakes winner. Toner was hoping for rain this week, but it never came.

While Wonder Again handled the security barn well at Belmont, Toner has some trepidation with the new set up at Saratoga. Had she run, Wonder Again would have been stabled in one of the two regular security barns.

"She is quirky and I don't know how she would handle it even being in a regular barn," Toner said. "It's not one specific thing. The timing, weather, post. Put things all together and there were not too many plusses."

Commentator possible for Whitney

Though Commentator's only career loss came in a two-turn race, trainer Nick Zito isn't convinced the New York-bred gelding has distance limitations. Zito is seriously considering running him in Saturday's Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at 1 1/8 miles.

Commentator certainly didn't discourage Zito from proceeding with those plans when he drilled a solid five furlongs in 59.19 seconds over Saratoga's main track Saturday morning. Maxine Correa was aboard for the move, the second fastest of 25 works at the distance.

"It was a terrific work," Zito said.

Zito said he wanted a few more days to evaluate the weights and the field before committing Commentator to the Whitney. Commentator was assigned 115 pounds, seven less than Saint Liam, who is the 122-pound starting highweight. Others considering the race are Limehouse (117), Pollard's Vision (117), Eurosilver (114), Swingforthefences (113), and Wiggins (112).

Commentator is 6 for 6 around one turn. His only loss came in the Hal's Hope, a two-turn, 1 1/8-mile race at Gulfstream. Commentator came out of that race with a fractured shin. In his return race on June 29, he won a classified allowance race by 16 1/2 lengths, running seven furlongs in 1:20.23 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 121.

"We don't know if it was a good read," Zito said of the Hal's Hope. "We don't know if it was that he got hurt in the race, or he doesn't want to run that far. If he has a good week maybe we'll take a chance."

King's Bishop is still the plan

Zito said the defection of Afleet Alex from Travers on Aug. 27 doesn't change his plan to run Bellamy Road in the King's Bishop on the same card. Bellamy Road, who injured a splint bone while finishing seventh as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, was credited with a five-furlong work in 1:04.42 over the Oklahoma training track on Saturday.

"Everybody's asking me why do you want to run against Lost in the Fog?" Zito said, referring to the unbeaten sprinter. "My answer is why does Lost in the Fog want to run against Bellamy Road?"

Burst pipe floods Mellon turf course

A pipe in the irrigation system burst on the Mellon turf course Friday evening, which necessitated Saturday's first race being moved to the inner course. The pipe was situated about 100 yards before the finish line, and when it broke it covered the area in water, according to Bill Nader, the senior vice president of the New York Racing Association.

Nader said the Mellon course would be evaluated on Sunday morning before deciding if the three races scheduled to be run on that course would remain there or be switched to the inner.

Two races were drawn Saturday for Monday's card on the Mellon course, including the feature, the Grade 2, $150,000 Bernard Baruch.

Marshall Cassidy back at the track

Marshall Cassidy, who retired in 1990 after 18 years as NYRA's track announcer, began working as a placing judge on Saturday.

Cassidy, a resident of Saratoga Springs, also will serve as a back-up announcer for Tom Durkin whenever necessary.

Since his retirement, Cassidy has announced on a few occasions, including a seven-day stint at Turf Paradise in Arizona and one race at Belmont Park in June when a group of former NYRA announcers returned there to call races.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson