Folk to meet girls again in CCA Oaks

ELMONT, N.Y. -- A filly who took on colts in her last start is running in Saturday's Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park.

No, Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches did not re-enter the picture. Folk, who got dusted by males in the UAE Derby on March 31, is one of four 3-year-old fillies considered definite for Saturday's $300,000 CCA Oaks. The others are Octave, Humble Janet, and Wow Me Free.

The CCA Oaks lost one prospective starter Wednesday when trainer Michael Dickinson said Coy Coyote would not run because she had an elevated temperature Wednesday morning. That was the same ailment that forced Rags to Riches out of the race.

While Octave, trainer Todd Pletcher's substitute for Rags to Riches, will likely go off a heavy favorite, Folk figures to be her major challenger. A daughter of Quiet American, Folk won her maiden in her third career start here last fall when trained by Tom Albertrani and running under Sheikh Mohammed's Darley banner.

After spending the first part of the winter at Payson Park with Godolphin assistant trainer Rick Mettee, Folk shipped to Dubai in early February where she posted sharp victories in the UAE 1000 Guineas and the UAE Oaks. Her connections opted to try her against males in the UAE Derby, where she finished 10th of 13, beaten by 24 3/4 lengths.

"There had been something [reported] that she had been off the next day, but apparently it was just for a day or so," Mettee said. "She went back into training pretty quickly."

Mettee said he was planning to run her in the Mother Goose on June 30, but he ran out of time getting her ready. Mettee said the CCA Oaks, run at 1 1/4 miles, was the next logical spot.

"This race really suited her pretty well, we thought," Mettee said. "Ten furlongs, you never know till you try them, but nine wasn't a problem for her. She's trained pretty good and galloped out very good after all of her works."

Mike Luzzi will ride Folk on Saturday.

Songster out indefinitely
Godolphin's top sprinter Songster will be out indefinitely with a strained ligament, Mettee said Wednesday.

Songster, a 4-year-old son of Songandaprayer, made a stellar seasonal debut, winning the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap by 2 1/2 lengths on May 12. He was training toward a start in the Grade 2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on July 28. On Sunday, he worked five furlongs in 1:01.24 over the Belmont main track.

"He did not come out of the work good," Mettee said. "He's got a strained ligament. He's going to be off for some time. We're going to have some scans done, redo them, and see where we are. He won't be going up to Saratoga with us. He really trained good. We're really disappointed."

As a 3-year-old, Songster won the Grade 2 Woody Stephens and Grade 3 Hirsch Jacobs. Overall, Songster has a record of 4-3-0 from 8 starts. He has earned $367,740.

Discreet Cat back on track
Mettee reported that Discreet Cat has been jogging for about two weeks and will likely begin galloping next week when he ships to Saratoga. Discreet Cat, who won last year's Grade 1 Cigar Mile, has not raced since finishing last in the Dubai World Cup.

Discreet Cat was found to have a throat abscess out of that race. He arrived here in early May and was simply walking under tack until two weeks ago.

"He's jogging sound and we're real happy with him," Mettee said. "He'll probably start galloping by the time we get up to Saratoga. We don't have a time frame for his first breeze. Once he gets into galloping, it won't be long until we get him into a little breeze. When he's good, he'll come to hand pretty fast."

Mettee said Godolphin has not targeted a return spot for Discreet Cat, who last year won a third-level allowance race at Saratoga by 11 lengths in his first start since winning that year's UAE Derby. Two years ago, he won his career debut at Saratoga.

IEAH buys into Papi Chullo
The International Equine Acquisitions Holdings (IEAH) stable has purchased a quarter-interest in the intriguing handicap horse Papi Chullo and controlling interest of two Midwest-based horses. All three are being pointed to stakes during the first week of the Saratoga meet.

In addition to Papi Chullo, IEAH bought a 75 percent interest in the 2-year-old filly Subtle Aly from owner Alan Pesch and 90 percent interest in the stakes-winning sprinter Benny the Bull from owner Greg James. Sanford Robbins also purchased 25 percent of Papi Chullo, whose managing partner will continue to be Steve Sigler's Winning Move Stable.

Papi Chullo, who is being pointed to the Grade 1 Whitney on July 28, is coming off a monster five-length score in the Birdstone Stakes on Belmont Stakes Day. He will remain with trainer Gary Contessa and run in Winning Move's silks. According to Michael Iavarone, co-president of IEAH, this is his group's first purchase of a horse in which it wasn't the majority owner.

"Right now, he's among the top five older horses in the country and he seems like he's getting better," Iavarone said. "This is a nice horse we wanted to be a part of."

Sigler said part of the deal was making sure Contessa remained on as trainer and that the horse would continue to run in Winning Move's silks.

"I'm honored they were so anxious to become our partners that that was not even an issue," Sigler said. "They were amenable to both. I see them being good partners. They love the game and they're Papi believers."

Subtle Aly, a daughter of French Envoy, won her career debut by five lengths for trainer Steve Asmussen at Churchill Downs on June 23. She has since been transferred to Richard Dutrow Jr. and will run in next Wednesday's Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga.

Iavarone was interested in buying Benny the Bull after his second-level allowance win at Churchill on Mayo28, but said Dutrow talked him out of it. Benny the Bull came back to win the $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap.

"As usual, Rick talked me out of the good ones," Iavarone said. "I ended up having to pay double. Rick wasn't so sure about his numbers. But he backed up his big number with a good number."

Weather forces cancellation
Heavy rains that caused flooding on the backstretch as well as road closures surrounding Belmont prompted officials to cancel Wednesday's nine-race card.

There was also a washout of the main track near the five-furlong pole, though track officials said that could have been fixed before racing began.

"We had a bit of one, nothing that I think would have precluded us from racing," said Jerry Porcelli, the track superintendent. "We'd have been ready."

Porcelli closed the track for training at 8:15 a.m.

Several of the major highways that lead to Belmont - including the Cross Island Parkway - were closed for part of the morning due to flooding. Several barns were flooded, forcing some horses to be relocated to the security barns.

Any Given Saturday to Haskell
Any Given Saturday, the impressive winner of the Dwyer Stakes on July 4, will likely make his next start in the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 5, Pletcher said Wednesday.

Pletcher noted that the presence of Street Sense in the Jim Dandy and Curlin in the Haskell makes choosing between the two spots "a tough call." He and Any Given Saturday's owners, the WinStar Farm, chose the Haskell because it's a Grade 1 and its $1 million purse is double that of the Jim Dandy, run on July 29. Also, Pletcher and WinStar won the Haskell last year with Bluegrass Cat.

"That doesn't mean he can't come back three weeks later in the Travers, but we'll play that by ear as we go along," Pletcher said. "You're either going to have to run against Street Sense in the Jim Dandy or Curlin in the Haskell. If you're going to pick your spots, you might as well run for more money."

Pletcher said Cowtown Cat is a possibility to run in the Jim Dandy.

Wait a While training in Kentucky
Pletcher's 3-year-old filly champion Wait a While resumed training at Churchill Downs on Monday after being forced to miss the CashCall Mile at Hollywood Park on July 6 due to a fever. Pletcher said he will point Wait a While to either the Beverly D. at Arlington Park on Aug.o11 or the Ballston Spa at Saratoga on Aug.o23

"Time will dictate that, I guess, in terms of how quickly she gets back," Pletcher said.

Pletcher said he shipped her to his Kentucky barn "to keep her from having to go all the way across the country."

* Curlin, the Preakness winner, was an early arrival at Saratoga and on Tuesday he worked five furlongs in 1:00.34 over the Oklahoma training track. The Asmussen-trained colt is being pointed to the Haskell.

Tiz Wonderful, another talented 3-year-old trained by Asmussen, went six furlongs in 1:14.01 as he prepares for the Jim Dandy.

- additional reporting by Mike Farrell