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Barbara D. Livingston

Rags to Riches to Skip Ruffian in Favor of Gazelle

Rags to Riches will not run in Saturday's Ruffian Handicap (gr.I) against older fillies and mares at Belmont Park, trainer Todd Pletcher said Wednesday morning.

By Karen M. Johnson

Rags to Riches will not run in the Ruffian Handicap (gr.I) on Sept. 8 against older fillies and mares at Belmont Park, trainer Todd Pletcher said Wednesday morning.

The daughter of A.P. Indy, out of Better Than Honour, who has not raced since winning the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), will run instead against 3-year-old fillies in the Gazelle (gr. I) at Belmont Sept. 15. The Gazelle will be her final start before the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Monmouth Park on Oct. 26-27.

Rags to Riches was forced to miss a scheduled breeze on Aug. 27 at Saratoga because of a fever and subsequently missed three days of training. She recovered quickly and worked five furlongs in 1:02.63 on Sept. 2 at Saratoga to Pletcher’s satisfaction. Still, Pletcher believes it is prudent to wait an additional week and run her in the 1 1/8-mile Gazelle. The filly is scheduled to work next at Belmont on Sept. 8.

"The Gazelle makes more sense because it gives her another work," Pletcher said. "It really wasn’t a hard decision, and I think it is fine. It was nice to have another option, and now it gives us six weeks to the Breeders’ Cup, which works." The trainer added that if Rags to Riches had worked on schedule last month, then she would still have been on target for the Ruffian.

"If she hadn’t missed that work, she would have been getting really sharp and ready to run," he said.

Rags to Riches has had a series of setbacks this summer, although none serious. A fever kept her from running in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) at Belmont July 21. In July, she was pulled up at the start of a workout because the exercise rider felt something amiss. A thorough examination followed, and nothing was found wrong with the filly, but the missed training time cost her a start in the Alabama (gr. I) at Saratoga.