12/07/2007 1:00AM

Cloudy's Knight getting a break till '08

EmailSTICKNEY, Ill. - There will be no Hollywood Turf Cup for Cloudy's Knight, and no McKnight Handicap at Calder, either. Trainer Frank Kirby had said the last several weeks that he had entertained the notion of shipping his turf star from Chicago to one of those races, but Kirby always sounded more inclined to wait until next year, and in the end, that was the decision reached by Cloudy's Knight's connections.

"We're kind of letting him coast a little bit right now, giving him a little bit of a break," Kirby said on Friday afternoon.

Cloudy's Knight, a huge chestnut son of Lord Avie, will turn 8 in a few weeks, but he has never been better, and somewhat quietly evolved into one of the better North American grass horses of 2007. Cloudy's Knight was really good early in the year when he won the Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup, and just missed in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz in New Orleans, but he was even better in the fall, capping his 2007 season with Woodbine wins in the Sky Classic, and then the Grade 1 Canadian International. Those two victories made Cloudy's Knight a finalist for a Sovereign Award as the top older turf male to race in Canada this year.

Cloudy's Knight is a possible starter in the major Fair Grounds grass races - the Fair Grounds BC and the Muniz - next year, and will begin gearing up for his 2008 season after the first of the year.

"For sure, it probably won't be that easy to get any horse back to what he's done, but hopefully he'll come back good," Kirby said. "He's not a hard horse to train, and he shouldn't be that hard to get fit again."

Lung surgery for injured rider

Sixteen-year-old jockey Lyndie Wade has been moved out of an intensive care unit and continues to show progress in his recovery from a serious head injury sustained last Friday at Hawthorne. But Wade had to undergo unexpected surgery on Friday to repair a punctured lung, said his agent, Jay Fedor.

Wade's lung had been reinflated upon his arrival at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., last Friday, but the puncture wound in the lung did not close on its own, and had to be sewn shut, Fedor said. The procedure is fairly routine, and Wade, according to Fedor, has improved daily through this week after falling into a coma - which at first was drug-induced - after sustaining head trauma in his spill. Wade began regaining consciousness on Monday night, and now is able to speak and move around on his own. Wade's appetite is good, Fedor said, but he is on a restricted diet because of a broken jaw.

"The prognosis still is excellent for him to make a full recovery," Fedor said.

Meier also mending

Randy Meier, injured in the same spill last Friday, had surgery on his arm this week and also is expected to make a full recovery, his agent, Penny Ffitch-Heyes, said Friday. Meier's upper arm was broken in three places just below his shoulder, and the bones were wired together during the surgical procedure. Meier, Ffitch-Heyes said, can start rehabilitation in January, and is expected to be ready to ride at the start of the winter-spring meet at Hawthorne.

"He's sore right now, but the prognosis is good for a speedy recovery," Ffitch-Heyes said.

Good crowd for feature

They have done it again: That fastidious Hawthorne racing office, helped along by a solid crew of Chicago winter stalwarts, has not only gotten a fairly high-end allowance race to fill, they have gotten it to go with a surprisingly large field.

This would be race 8 on Sunday, a third-level, filly-and-mare, six-furlong allowance also open to $40,000 claimers. Ten horses were entered, including the coupled entry of Gita and Triple It for trainer Terry Gestes and owner Bill Stiritz.

Gita has finished fifth in her two tries at this class level, but she definitely will have an effect on the race, since Gita tends to go straight to the front and has 21-second-and-change opening-quarter-mile speed. But Gita is far from the only speed in the Sunday feature, and the chances of Margie Marie, who looked sharp winning a second-level allowance here in her most recent start, may depend on her ability to rate at least a little bit off the pace.

Margie Marie, who drew post 2, won her career debut this past summer on Arlington's Polytrack surface, but appears to be a better horse on dirt, giving a handicapper hope that she can improve once again on Sunday in only her seventh start.

Margie Marie cleared her entry-level allowance condition at Canterbury, and after a poor showing on the Hawthorne turf won by a length on Nov. 14. Problem is, Margie Marie was right on the pace in her two dirt wins, and if she tries to run early with the likes of Gita, she is unlikely to be the better for it.