05/17/2007 11:00PM

Bone chip sidelines Spring at Last

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Spring at Last, winner of the $1 million Godolphin Mile in Dubai on March 31, will miss the $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 28 because of a bone chip in an ankle, trainer Doug O'Neill said.

Spring at Last, 4, is scheduled to undergo surgery to have the chip removed Monday. An assessment on how long he will be sidelined will be made following the operation, O'Neill said.

A lengthy layoff could eliminate long-range plans to start Spring at Last in the newly created $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Monmouth Park on Oct. 26.

"A lot of it depends on what the vet says," O'Neill said.

Owned by Paul Reddam and WinStar Farm, Spring at Last has won 3 of 10 starts and $795,650. He was second in the Malibu Stakes and Strub Stakes last winter.

Friday, Lava Man, the leading older horse in California, worked a half-mile in 49 seconds, his first workout since finishing last in the Dubai Duty Free on March 31.

Lava Man galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.60, according to O'Neill.

The winner of 11 stakes in his last 12 starts in California, Lava Man may start in the $300,000 Charles Whittingham Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf on June 9 as a prep for the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on June 30. He won both races last year.

"The main thing about a race like the Whittingham - if he tells us that's what he wants to do - is that it's on the turf and it's not as grueling as a main-track race," O'Neill said.

Jockeys avoid serious injury in three-horse spill

Jockeys Alex Bisono, Martin Garcia, and Martin Pedroza escaped serious injury in a three-horse spill Thursday.

Bisono and Garcia were taken to Centinela Hospital for X-rays, but were released by late afternoon. Pedroza did not miss any of his mounts because of the accident.

Garcia took off his mounts Friday because of a sore wrist, according to his agent, Roger Olguin. Bisono, who complained of a sore ankle, was not scheduled to ride Friday. Both jockeys were expected to ride Saturday.

The accident occurred on the turn of a maiden claiming race over 1 1/16 miles when leader Royal Change broke down while racing on the rail. Mudder of Pearl, who was trailing Royal Change, unseated Pedroza, who was only shaken up in the spill. No Tip for You, who was racing at the back of the eight-horse field, fell, unseating Garcia.

Royal Change was euthanized. Mudder of Pearl and No Tip for You ran off and did not appear to be injured.

Seven years later, stewards redistribute purse

Nearly seven years after the race was run, the purse of a claiming race at Hollywood Park in June 2000 has been ordered redistributed by Hollywood Park stewards after race winner Starmaniac tested positive for the presence of morphine.

The ruling means that John and Jerry Amerman must forfeit their share of the purse as owners of Starmaniac. Trainer Bobby Frankel was not sanctioned.

A case against Frankel for two morphine positives at Hollywood Park in June 2000 was dismissed last year by the California Racing Board. A post-race urine test revealed the presence of morphine, according to the racing board. During Frankel's hearing, experts testified that the morphine levels found were minute.

Frankel later argued that the test results were in error and that the samples were somehow contaminated. An agreement to dismiss Frankel's case was made in 2004 by the racing board, but was not enacted until last summer.

The presence of morphine is a Class 1 violation. The presence of drugs in Classes 1, 2, and 3 result in revocation of the purse.

Nook and Granny sets meet's fastest time

Nook and Granny, a first-time starter trained by David La Croix, zipped 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.61 seconds on Thursday, the fastest clocking at the distance of the Hollywood Park meeting.

But the mark may not last long. A promising group of 2-year-old maiden colts and geldings are entered in Sunday's fourth race.

Nook and Granny led throughout to win by two lengths under jockey Richard Migliore. The filly was bred by the La Croix family's Meadowbrook Farm and is owned by a partnership that includes Meadowbrook.

La Croix said that Nook and Granny could return in the $100,000 Landaluce Stakes over six furlongs on June 30.

"She's got all the components, the mental and the physical," La Croix said.

Sunday's race is led by Booted, an A.P. Indy colt making his career debut for trainer Richard Mandella.

"He's trained exceptionally well," Mandella said. "I wasn't really pushing it, but he got ready to run early and I don't want to wait. He's trained too good to sit in the barn."

Soul City Slew aiming for Triple Bend

Soul City Slew, winner of an optional claimer over 7 1/2 furlongs Thursday, may return in the $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap on July 7, trainer Art Sherman said.

Soul City Slew closed from last in a field of five to win by 1 1/2 lengths over 8-5 favorite He's the Rage. Declan's Moon, the 2004 champion 2-year-old male, could only finish third after leading in the final furlong.

The victory was the fourth for Sherman in two days at Hollywood Park, two on Wednesday and two on Friday.

"That was quite a thrill," he said. "You always think that you have live horses. I hoped they'd hit the board."

Declan's Moon, winless in his last seven starts after winning the first five of his career, will be taken off the pace in his next start, trainer Ron Ellis said.

"I think we'll change his style," he said. "We'll wait and make one run."

Veterinarian Buttgenbach dies at 64

Steve Buttgenbach, a veterinarian at Southern California racetracks for the last 35 years, died Tuesday of complications of cancer at his home in La Canada, Calif., Hollywood Park officials announced. Buttgenbach was 64.

A San Francisco native, Buttgenbach was a private veterinarian for many years, working for trainers such as Tommy Doyle, Henry Moreno, John Sullivan, Ray Bell, and Neil Drysdale. During his time with Drysdale, Buttgenbach helped care for horses such as A.P. Indy, Fiji, Hollywood Wildcat, Princess Rooney, and Tasso.

In the 1970s, Buttgenbach spent a year in France working for the Wildenstein Stable. Over the years, he assisted Drs. Greg Ferraro and Wayne McIlwraith, performing equine anesthesia during surgeries. In the last few years, Buttgenbach worked as a state veterinarian at Southern California tracks, a job he continued to do as recently as last winter.

A memorial service will be held in June, but details have not been determined, his friends said.