10/22/2002 12:00AM

BC Countdown - Turf: Blazing Fury's scratch cuts field to eight


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - A tendon injury will prevent Blazing Fury from starting in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf, making for the smallest field in the 19-year history of the race.

As of Tuesday, there were only eight horses remaining in the Turf. In 1986 at Santa Anita, there were nine starters in the Turf.

Blazing Fury was found to have a "10 percent tear" in the tendon ligament of his right foreleg on Tuesday at Belmont Park, according to trainer Jim Toner.

The injury was noticed after Blazing Fury returned from a gallop.

"We want out for a gallop and when we came back we noticed a profile," Toner said. "We did an ultrasound right away and it shows a 10 percent tear in the tendon ligament. We had a problem.

"As of now, I can't go forward with this. It would make matters worse and we'd jeopardize his career.

"He's been galloping over that racetrack all year. I'm dumbfounded. There was something that was noticeably different this morning. We said, 'This isn't right.' "

Toner estimated that Blazing Fury would need six or eight months of rest before returning to training. He said the 4-year-old horse will spend the winter with the rest of the Toner barn at Payson Park in Florida.

Owned by Caesar Kimmel and Ronald Nicholson, Blazing Fury has won 3 of 13 starts and $488,690. Fourth in the 2001 Breeders' Cup Turf at Belmont Park, he was considered an outsider in Saturday's race.

Without Blazing Fury, there are three shippers from Europe and five runners from North America in the Turf field. Ballingarry, the winner of the Canadian International at Woodbine on Sept. 29, arrived from France early Tuesday.

Following the Canadian International, Ballingarry was acquired by a partnership and turned over to California-based trainer Laura de Seroux.

Ballingarry was sent back to France in early October to complete quarantine procedures and was based with de Seroux assistant Jeff Ford at trainer John Hammond's yard at Chantilly.

When de Seroux visited Ballingarry on Tuesday at the quarantine barn at Arlington Park, it was the first time she had seen the colt in person, though she had seen videos of his races.

"He seems that he's handled all the travel," de Seroux said. "I think we'll have to tack-walk him this afternoon because I'm afraid he'd be too much of a handful."

Previously trained by Aidan O'Brien, Ballingarry won stakes in France last November and in April of this year. Earlier this year, he finished second in the Italian Derby and third in the Irish Derby behind likely BC Turf favorite High Chaparral.

Ballingarry will race for Chicago owner Sidney Port, Liberty Road Stable, and the San Gabriel Investments of Laura de Seroux and her husband, Emmanuel, a bloodstock agent who brokered the deal.

Five of the eight probables were scheduled to be on the grounds by Tuesday evening. The Tin Man arrived from California on a mid-day flight. High Chaparral was scheduled to arrive from Ireland on Tuesday afternoon.

Denon arrived at Arlington Park late Monday, but only walked at the barn on Tuesday. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Denon is considered the top American hope for the Turf, having won two Grade 1 stakes this year - the Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park and the Turf Classic at Belmont Park.