01/13/2009 12:00AM

Derby prospect Point Encounter sidelined


ARCADIA, Calif. - Point Encounter did not stay long on the Kentucky Derby trail.

Less than three weeks after a splashy debut established the colt as a top prospect for the spring classics, Point Encounter is out of the picture. Trainer Carla Gaines said Tuesday the 3-year-old was injured and would be turned out for an indefinite period of time.

"He's off the Derby trail; he jumped off real quick," Gaines said.

Point Encounter was an open secret when he made his debut as the favorite in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race Dec. 26, opening day of the Santa Anita winter meet. A son of Point Given, Point Encounter raced gate to wire in a quick 1:14.81, earned a lofty 94 Beyer Speed Figure, and was considered one of the top 3-year-olds in California.

However, Gaines said Point Encounter suffered a soft tissue injury and that "it could take a while" for him to return. Gaines declined to be specific regarding the exact nature of the injury, and did not say if the colt hurt himself in the race or while training.

"The things [injuries] that are showing up, who knows when they start?" she said.

Point Encounter is owned and bred by the Kentucky West Racing stable of Patrick O'Keefe, and was listed as 15-1 co-favorite in the Wynn future book Derby odds in Las Vegas.

Frankel optimistic about Visit's surface switch

Although the top-class turf filly Visit has raced exclusively on grass, trainer Bobby Frankel envisions her making a successful transition to the main track when she starts in the Grade 1 Santa Maria Handicap for fillies and mares on Feb. 14.

"She trains like Ventura" on the Pro-Ride, Frankel said, comparing Visit to the synthetic-surface specialist who won the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. "[Visit] is a small filly like Ventura, and very athletic."

Visit has won only 2 of 9, but finished a close fourth in the BC Filly and Mare Turf, followed by a good third in the Grade 1 Matriarch in her most recent start Nov. 20. Owned and bred by Juddmonte Farms, Visit may start favored in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Maria. Zenyatta, the circuit's leading main-track filly or mare, returned to the track last week and is not expected to make her 2009 debut until spring.

Miss Silver Brook looks like a prospect

The best 3-year-old filly to run last Sunday at Santa Anita was not even nominated to the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel the same day. But a sharp maiden win by first-time starter Miss Silver Brook suggests it won't be long before trainer Julio Canani runs her in a stakes.

"I didn't think she could get up at six furlongs," Canani said, "and her pedigree is 100opercent grass."

Sired by Cozzene, Miss Silver Brook was bet to 2-1 off a string of fancy works, and when jockey Alex Solis swung her outside at the head of the lane, she rallied from last to first and won going away. Her 1:09.61 final time earned a 78 Beyer.

"She's huge, she's over 16 hands, and she looks like a 4-year-old," Canani said. "She worked super."

Miss Silver Brook, owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joe Scardino, was purchased for $600,000 at the Keeneland 2-year-olds in training sale in April. Canani said he would take his time with the filly.

"We'll play it by ear," he said, regarding her next start.

Meanwhile, Canani-trained Lady Lumberjack will shorten up after a fourth-place finish at 3-1 in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Ysabel.

"She's a sprinter," Canani said.

Plans for Century Park uncertain

Slow fractions in the Santa Ysabel (48.83 seconds and 1:13.55) contributed to a slow final time of 1:43.32 and a 79 Beyer Figure for winner Century Park.

Although trainer Bob Baffert said he was not concerned with the clocking, he stopped short of committing Century Park to the next filly stakes, the Grade 1 Las Virgenes on Feb. 7.

"I'm going to see how she bounces out of the race first," Baffert said.

He said Toro Bonito, a dull seventh, would be "freshened up" and would not run in the Las Virgenes.

Devoted Magic likely for Sunshine Sprint

Devoted Magic will not run in another claiming race soon. The improving gelding sizzled the fastest 6 1/2 furlongs (1:14.60) of the meet Jan. 7, earning a 105 Beyer Figure that makes him the meet's active high-figure sprinter. (Bob Black Jack earned a 108 Beyer winning the Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26, but he has been sidelined.)

The 6 3/4-length win by Devoted Magic in the first-level allowance for California-breds makes him a leading candidate for the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 24. Devoted Magic was claimed one start back for $32,000 by Jerry Hollendorfer and exploded in his first start on Pro-Ride.

"Horses don't run like that unless they really like the track," Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward said.

The Sunshine Millions could come up tough if Cost of Freedom and In Summation run, but Devoted Magic appears to be a surface specialist.

"There's not really anything that says, don't run," Ward said

The Pamplemousse follows same pattern

The Pamplemousse was scheduled to work three furlongs Wednesday in preparation for the Grade 3 San Rafael Stakes on Saturday. The blowout three days before a race helped The Pamplemousse score a solid maiden win Dec.o14 at Hollywood Park.

Square Eddie is expected to start favored in the San Rafael, which as of early this week had seven possible starters. Other candidates include Brother Keith, Fiddlers Afleet, Frumious, Charlie's Moment, Desert Eagle, and Feisty Suances.

Booted indicates he wants to run

At first, Booted was not scheduled to run Saturday in the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes, the second leg of the Strub Series for 4-year-olds.

Trainer Richard Mandella said his first inclination was to skip the San Fernando, "but he's doing so good I have to run him back."

Booted won a first-level allowance Jan. 1 by 2o1/2 lengths, and enters the San Fernando in search of his third straight win. El Gato Malo and Madeo are the San Fernando principals.

Other possible starters include Dakota Phone, Muny, Nownownow, Tres Borrachos, and Wishful Tomcat.