05/17/2006 12:00AM

Battle Won out with unknown illness

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Rush Bay could make his next start in the Opening Verse Stakes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Battle Won, fifth as the favorite in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap on

May 6, has been sent to San Luis Rey Equine Hospital in California to be treated for an internal ailment, trainer Chuck Simon said Wednesday.

Simon said the nature of Battle Won's ailment is unknown. A 6-year-old gelding, he came out of the Churchill Downs Handicap physically sound, Simon said, but blood tests taken after the race revealed something was amiss.

After having Battle Won examined locally in the days following the Churchill Downs Handicap, Simon said owners Jay and Gretchen Manoogian, who reside in California, chose to send Battle Won to San Luis Rey because of the cutting-edge facilities there and the owners' relationship with one of the vets there, Dr. Joe Cannon. A preliminary test showed that Battle Won could have a parasite that worming treatments did not eliminate, Simon said.

Battle Won, whom the Manoogians reportedly purchased for $150,000 in the spring of 2004, was one of the top sprinters in the country last year. He won the 2005 Churchill Downs Handicap and ran second in the Forego and Bing Crosby handicaps, two Grade 1 races. He finished 2005 with an 11th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Battle Won returned to racing this year at Keeneland, finishing second in an allowance April 12, which preceded his start in the Churchill Downs Handicap.

Simon said plans call for Battle Won to resume training at Hollywood Park and shuttle back to San Luis Rey for evaluation. The aim is to get him back in the fall and to aim him for the Breeders' Cup, Simon said.

The Daddy out until the fall

Another horse on the sidelines until at least the fall is The Daddy, last year's Super Derby winner. Owner Greg Norman said The Daddy injured the inside of his left splint when training toward his first start of the year. He had been sidelined following the Super Derby after having surgery on his outer splint on the same leg, Norman said.

No fracture occurred this time. "It just heated up," said Norman.

Norman said he hopes to return The Daddy to racing in November or December against New York-breds, with the intention of pursuing the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream over the winter. The Daddy was the champion New York bred 3-year-old colt of last year.

Meanwhile, Miss Norman, Norman's current stable star, is likely to run next in the Dogwood Stakes at Churchill on June 3 or the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks on June 11. Norman said she will likely work at Churchill on Saturday, and after he sees the nominations for the Dogwood, which close Sunday, he will make his decision.

Miss Norman finished 12th in the May 5 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs after running a troubled second in the Fantasy.

Friday card led by two allowances

A pair of second-level allowances highlight Friday's 11-race card, carded as the ninth and 10th races on the program.

Social Probation, second to Lost in the Fog in the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes last summer, seeks to get back on track in the ninth race, a seven-furlong dirt sprint, after failing twice in turf races. One of Social Probations principal foes is the comebacking Patriot Act, who ran second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity in 2004 and won a maiden race and an allowance in 2005.

Aimer, a Churchill course specialist, benefits from a favorable inside draw in the 10th, a mile turf race. Cotopaxi, Mountain Mambo, Bojangle's Cat, and Titian Time head the opposition facing Aimer.

He's Got Grit all set for Matt Winn

A field of six to eight is expected for Saturday's $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs, a six-furlong main-track dash for 3-year-olds. Potential starters include Changing Weather, Chief What It Is, Court Folly, Deputy G, Grand Survival, Hallowed Flag, He's Got Grit, and Skeleton Crew, said Donnie Richardson, Churchill's senior vice president of racing.

He's Got Grit, one of the likely favorites, makes his first start of the year. He tuned up for the race by breezing a half-mile Tuesday in 50.20 seconds over a fast main track for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Rush Bay eyes Opening Verse

Also working Tuesday at Churchill was Rush Bay, who breezed a bullet half-mile on a good turf course in 48.40 seconds. A narrow winner of a third-level allowance at Churchill on Derby Day, he is being pointed toward a start in the June 3 Opening Verse Stakes, trainer Tom Amoss said.

Senor Swinger, winner of the Opening Verse the past two years, breezed five furlongs on fast main track in 1:01.20 on Wednesday.