08/04/2005 11:00PM

Andujar sidelined for rest of year

Lava Man, winning the Hollywood Gold Cup, breezed six furlongs in 1:14.20 Friday and remains on target for a start in the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 21.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Andujar, the top older female on dirt this summer in California, is out for the year with a tendon injury, trainer Doug O'Neill said Friday.

O'Neill said the injury was detected after Andujar finished third in the Grade 1 Go for Wand Handicap at Saratoga last Sunday. Thursday, Andujar was shipped to Magali Farms in Santa Ynez, Calif., for four months of rest.

O'Neill said he is optimistic that Andujar, 4, can return to racing in 2006 for owners Paul Reddam and Mark Schlesinger.

"There's a little bit of activity in a tendon," O'Neill said. "It's sensitive, and she has had some heat. There are no holes, knock on wood, but it's significant enough to give her four months off."

The injury will prevent Andujar from starting in the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont Park in October.

In recent months, Andujar has been in excellent form. After winning a maiden race and an allowance race in April, she won the Grade 2 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap by seven lengths at Hollywood Park on June 4 and returned to finish third in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap on July 3.

Lava Man works for Pacific Classic

Lava Man, the winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 9, remains on schedule for the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 21 after breezing six furlongs in 1:14.20 on Friday.

Trained by O'Neill, Lava Man is a top contender for the Pacific Classic along with Choctaw Nation, the winner of the San Diego Handicap on July 24.

Lava Man worked in company with the 2-year-old filly Ella Ella, breaking off a length in front of her at the five-furlong marker. Lava Man maintained a slight lead throughout and led by a length at the finish line when Ella Ella was eased down.

Lava Man continued for another furlong and galloped out strongly.

"I thought he looked awesome," O'Neill said.

Lava Man has won consecutive stakes in the Grade 2 Californian and Grade 1 Gold Cup.

The Pacific Classic will have a strong cast, including Surf Cat, the winner of the Swaps Stakes, and Perfect Drift, who won the recent Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park and was second in the 2004 Pacific Classic.

"The timing is perfect, and he looks as good as ever," O'Neill said of Lava Man. "Energy-wise, he'll need to be at his best."

Pacific Classic hopeful Ace Blue, second to Choctaw Nation in the San Diego, worked six furlongs in 1:14.20 under jockey David Flores on Friday.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer timed Ace Blue galloping out seven furlongs in 1:27.36 and a mile in 1:42.46. Ace Blue worked alone.

"He likes to pick it up as he goes longer," Hollendorfer said.

Ace Blue is unproven over the Pacific Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles. In the San Diego, he finished a length behind Choctaw Nation.

"He deserves a chance to run in the big race," Hollendorfer said.

Special Ring retired at 8

Special Ring, one of the top turf milers in California in recent years, has been retired, trainer Julio Canani said.

Special Ring, an 8-year-old gelding, won 10 of 29 starts and $915,023. The highlights of his career included consecutive wins in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar in 2003 and 2004.

Owned by Prestonwood Farm, Special Ring had wretched luck in two appearances in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

In 2003 at Santa Anita, Special Ring finished eighth in the Mile after he was steadied at the eighth pole. Last year at Lone Star Park, Special Ring finished 13th after a poor start.

Special Ring made one start this year, finishing last of seven in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park on May 30, a race in which he was second in 2003.

Canani said Special Ring will be retired to Prestonwood Farm in Kentucky.

Designed for Luck on comeback trail

Designed for Luck, who has battled through two serious injuries in his stakes-winning career, is in the midst of another comeback.

Friday, Designed for Luck worked a half-mile in 46.20 seconds, the fastest of 36 works at the distance. He could start at this meeting, said his trainer, Vladimir Cerin said.

An 8-year-old gelding, Designed for Luck has not started since winning the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park in May 2004. Two months later, a small tear in his suspensory was diagnosed, threatening his career.

Designed for Luck resumed light exercise in February.

A winner of 10 of 26 starts and $915,500, Designed for Luck finished first at 58-1 in the 2000 Hollywood Derby but was disqualified for causing interference in the stretch.

Designed for Luck later missed nearly 18 months because of a hock injury suffered in the spring of 2002. He returned to win two stakes in the fall of 2003.

Hirsch could be Star Parade's last race

Has Star Parade reached the end? A two-time Grade 1 winner, Star Parade has gone off form in three recent starts, including a last-place finish July 9. The decline of her form has been so steep that trainer Darrell Vienna said he is considering retiring Star Parade.

Star Parade breaks from the rail Sunday in the Grade 2 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap, and Vienna said, "If she doesn't run this time, we've probably had enough." The decline is puzzling, because Star Parade continues to train super.

"Her works have been extraordinary," Vienna said. They include a 58.60-second breeze Aug. 3 under a 140-pound exercise rider and a half-mile work July 26 in 46 seconds. Both works were bullet moves.

Vienna said he altered Star Parade's diet, but is unsure what to expect Sunday. "She has just been giving it up, and I can't explain it," he said. "She's healthy and sound and doesn't seem sour."

A 6-year-old mare, Star Parade began her U.S. career at Del Mar with a first-condition allowance win July 23, 2003, and later won the Grade 1 Santa Maria Handicap and Grade 1 Milady Handicap. Star Parade has won 6 races and $786,419 from 23 starts.

- additional reporting by Brad Free