05/26/2006 12:00AM

Balance out with injured ankle

Balance, who finished 11th as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks, will be sidelined until the late fall after a bone chip was found in her left ankle.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Balance, the winner of two Grade 1 stakes earlier this year, will be out until late fall after she was found to have a bone chip in her left ankle, trainer David Hofmans said.

Surgery to have the bone chip removed was scheduled for Saturday. Hofmans estimates that Balance will need 90 days of rest before she can resume training.

The injury was detected earlier this week after a battery of tests was conducted following her 11th-place finish as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks on May 5. Owned by John and Jerry Amerman, Balance has won 4 of 8 starts and $563,300.

Hofmans described the injury as a "small flake in the left ankle."

"Apparently, she did it in the race," he said. "Once they get in there and look at the joint, we'll know how much time she needs off."

Balance won the Las Virgenes Stakes and Santa Anita Oaks earlier this year to vault to the top of the 3-year-old filly division. She finished third in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in April before the disappointing race in the Kentucky Oaks.

Hofmans said Balance's goal in her comeback will be the La Canada series for 4-year-old fillies at Santa Anita next winter.

Board approves synthetic surface requirement

The California Horse Racing Board on Thursday voted 4-0 mandating that the state's Thoroughbred tracks install synthetic surfaces before receiving racing licenses in 2008.

The amendment was given final approval at the board's monthly meeting Thursday in Los Alamitos. The proposal was introduced in February and states that any track that runs four consecutive weeks of Thoroughbred racing must install a synthetic surface to receive a license to race after Jan. 1, 2008. The amendment affects Bay Meadows, Del Mar, Golden Gate Fields, Hollywood Park, and Santa Anita.

To date, none of the tracks have installed a synthetic surface, which is in use at Turfway Park in Kentucky. Such surfaces are scheduled for installation later this year at Keeneland and Woodbine.

Del Mar officials have said they intend to install a synthetic surface by 2007, but must receive approval from the California Coastal Commission. Hollywood Park may install a synthetic surface for its fall 2006 meeting but has yet to finalize plans.

Synthetic surfaces are considered by many to be safer for horses, providing less concussion than a conventional dirt surface. The manufacturers of four synthetic surfaces have made sales pitches to California tracks recently.

Bob and John works for Belmont

Trainer Bob Baffert worked three of his leading 3-year-olds at Santa Anita on Friday - Bob and John, Da Stoops, and Point Determined.

Bob and John, who won the Wood Memorial Stakes last month but was 17th in the Kentucky Derby, is a candidate for the Belmont Stakes on June 10. He worked seven furlongs in 1:25.60, the fastest of five recorded works at the distance.

Point Determined, second in the Santa Anita Derby and ninth in the Kentucky Derby, worked seven furlongs in 1:27.60. Baffert mentioned the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 17 as a possibility for Point Determined.

Da Stoops worked a half-mile in 46.40 seconds, the fastest of 31 recorded works at the distance. Da Stoops won the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for California-breds on April 30, but was ill in the days following the race, Baffert said.

Friday's workout was Da Stoops's second since the Snow Chief. Baffert said he has not picked a race for Da Stoops.

Another horse who may run in the Affirmed is Blazing Sunset, the upset winner of the Alydar Stakes here on May 14. Trainer Doug O'Neill said Blazing Sunset could instead run in the $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on June 30.

With Film Maker out, more come in

With Film Maker out of Monday's Grade 1, $300,000 Gamely Breeders' Cup Stakes, several more horses were entered than expected.

The Gamely, a 1 1/8-mile race on turf, attracted eight fillies and mares. Dalicia, Hollywood Story, and Ticker Tape, three who weren't expected to run against Film Maker, are among them. Film Maker was declared out after developing a quarter crack.

Ticker Tape has the $750,000 CashCall Mile on July 1 as her main goal for the summer and was added to the Gamely field after trainer Jim Cassidy conducted a precautionary blood test on Thursday. Cassidy feared Film Maker, having run against her with Moscow Burning in Florida last December.

Ticker Tape, who won the American Oaks and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at 3 in 2004, has only 1 victory in 12 starts in 2005-06. She was a game second in the Wilshire Handicap here on April 26.

"She's had as much bad luck as she had good luck at 3," Cassidy said of Ticker Tape's recent races.

The Gamely is joined on Monday's program by the Grade 1 on turf. The $300,000 race drew seven entrants: Aragorn, Charmo, Diamond Green, Milk It Mick, Silent Name, Terroplane, and Willow O Wisp.

Lava Man works six furlongs

Lava Man, the winner of the Santa Anita Handicap in March and two other stakes this year, worked six furlongs in 1:14.80 at Hollywood Park on Friday. He is being prepared for the Charles Whittingham Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on turf on June 10.

At Santa Anita, Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old male of 2004, worked a half-mile in 47.20 seconds, moving closer to a comeback.