08/20/2003 12:00AM

Chindi out of stakes with leg injury


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Chindi has not missed many dances during a career that began 6 1/2 years ago, but he is out of Saturday's $100,000 Arlington Sprint after injuring a leg in a workout here Monday.

"It's not a big deal, but the timing's bad," Chindi's trainer, Steve Hobby, said Wednesday morning.

Chindi would have been one of the favorites in the Arlington Sprint, a race in which he finished fifth two years ago and second three years ago. The 9-year-old Chindi has made 68 starts and is closing in on $1 million in earnings, but even at his advanced age, Chindi has not lost more than a half-step, if even that.

In Monday's half-mile workout, timed in 49.20 seconds, Chindi's rear hoof hit his front leg, which was swollen after the breeze.

"He just smacked himself a little, and there was some filling," Hobby said. "We scanned it, and everything's okay, but I don't take any chances with him. He's been perfect for all this time, and I don't want that to change now."

Hobby said Chindi would get 30 days off, but that the layoff could extend into next season. "By the time we get him back, there won't be many races for him," he said.

But there may be an Arlington race for another Hobby-trained stakes horse: Sue's Good News, winner of the Singapore Plate here last month, could make her next start in the Grade 3 Pucker Up on Sept. 11. The race would be Sue's Good News's turf debut, and her status for the race will be determined by a grass work next week.

"If she works okay, we'll go in the Pucker Up," Hobby said. "I'd rather stay right here and not have to ship right now."

Cashel Castle returning in Sprint

Even without Chindi, a solid field of seven was entered Wednesday for the six-furlong Arlington Sprint, a race in which Cashel Castle will begin his comeback. Cashel Castle won all three of his starts as a 2-year-old and the first two of his 3-year-old season before suffering his first loss in the Derby Trial in April 2002.

Cashel Castle's first loss also was his last race. The horse went down with a career-threatening leg injury, but he has battled his way back after returning to light training this spring, and has turned in fast workouts for his start on Saturday.

"I would have preferred an allowance race, but I'd have to ship him out of town, and I don't want to do it that way," said trainer Chris Block. "I think he'll fit in the race if he can come back anything like he was last year."

The other horses entered are Bet on Joe, Bright Valour, Classic Appeal, Deer Lake, Distinction, and Out of My Way.

Honor in War to shorten up

Honor in War, ninth here Saturday in the Arlington Million, emerged unscathed from his race and might make his next start in the Oct. 4 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. While his exact schedule remains uncertain, expect to see Honor in War surface in shorter grass races.

"He's only had a couple of tries at a mile and a quarter, so maybe it's a little too early to judge him," said trainer Paul McGee. "But it may be a little too far. I feel like he came with his run and ran his race Saturday. He just flattened out a little bit in the stretch - maybe it was the distance."

McGee said owner Will Wolford still intends to put Honor in War in Keeneland's November sale of racing and breeding stock. Where the horse races before that is "up in the air," McGee said, "but the one race we have discussed is the Shadwell Mile."

Wiggins may go in Pennsylvania Derby

The trainer Tony Granitz has his antennae pointed eastward. Granitz would like to run the leading Illinois-bred 3-year-old Wiggins in the Sept. 1 Pennsylvania Derby, but he will not ship for the race if Peace Rules is in the lineup there.

Peace Rules was a surprise entry Wednesday in Saturday's Travers Stakes, but trainer Bobby Frankel may scratch him from the race. Frankel had previously said Peace Rules could go to the $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby, but Peace Rules also had been mentioned as a starter in the Pacific Classic and did not travel to California for that race.

As for Wiggins, he continues to train well after beating open company by almost five lengths in the July 25 Round Table Stakes here. Wiggins worked six furlongs in 1:14.80 here Aug. 11.

"He's doing really well right now," Granitz said.

If Wiggins doesn't go to the Pennsylvania Derby, he is likely to run for one-tenth the money in the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Derby on Sept. 13.

Three allowances on card

A pair of first-level allowance races and a second-level allowance for Illinois-breds highlight Friday's 10-race program.

The fifth, for 3-year-old fillies on turf, looks like a crapshoot. Dania Bay, coming off a traffic-filled trip, should beat a short field in the eighth, for older mares at nine furlongs on dirt. In the statebred allowance, also on turf, Big Bold Sweep goes for his third straight win.