06/03/2008 11:00PM

El Gato Malo injured and out till fall


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - El Gato Malo, the winner of the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Derby last month, has been taken out of training with an undisclosed injury and is expected to return to racing in the fall, trainer Craig Dollase said on Wednesday.

Dollase declined to reveal the nature of the injury, but said that El Gato Malo was suffering from "wear and tear. We'll just give him some time. It's minor, what it is."

Dollase said that the injury was detected after El Gato Malo completed a routine gallop at Hollywood Park on Tuesday. Owned by the West Point Thoroughbreds partnership, El Gato Malo has won 4 of 6 starts and $440,200.

El Gato Malo won his first three starts, including the Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields last fall and the Grade 3 San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita in January. He lost his next two starts - a second in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes and a fifth in the Santa Anita Derby on April 5.

The loss in the Santa Anita Derby knocked him out of contention for the Kentucky Derby because of a lack of earnings in graded stakes.

El Gato Malo returned to win the Lone Star Park Derby by a half-length on May 10 and was being pointed for the $300,000 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 12. Dollase said that El Gato Malo will miss a "couple of months. We'll look forward to the fall."

Dollase said the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes over seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Dec. 26 is a long-term goal.

Mr. Wolverine reaching in Whittingham

Mr. Wolverine should not be in Saturday's $300,000 Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park. He shouldn't even be at the racetrack.

Considering the injuries the 6-year-old gelding has suffered in his limited career, the partnership that owns Mr. Wolverine and trainer Jorge Gutierrez realize they are fortunate to have a horse capable of racing in major stakes.

As a 3-year-old in 2005, Mr. Wolverine beat maidens in his debut, but kicked a wall in his stall at Santa Anita later that season, damaging a foot. He was sidelined for more than eight months.

Mr. Wolverine ran four times in 2006, including a second by a nose at 62-1 in the Crystal Water Handicap at Santa Anita. The campaign was cut short by a tendon injury that kept Mr. Wolverine away from racing for 16 months.

Since his return last November, he has made five starts, and been first or second in four of them, the most recent of which was his first stakes win in the Khaled Stakes for California-breds here on April 27.

"We're very lucky to have him back in," Gutierrez said. "There were a couple of times we thought it was over."

The Whittingham will be Mr. Wolverine's first start in a Grade 1 and first over 1 1/4 miles on turf. It will be a difficult race to win, Gutierrez acknowledges. The field includes Champs Elysees, the winner of the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita last January for trainer Bobby Frankel, and Lava Man, who has won the last three runnings of the Hollywood Gold Cup and the 2006 Whittingham.

"Is his best race good enough to win this?" Gutierrez said. "I don't know. I know he'll have to run much better than he did to beat that Frankel horse.

"The way he ran last time seems that he can get the distance," Gutierrez said. "If he's able to compete against these horses, the doors open up. If he doesn't, we've got the California-bred races."

Mr. Wolverine is one of seven horses in the Whittingham, which is one of four stakes on an 11-race program.

Missit one to watch in Honeymoon

The Whittingham is the most valuable race on the program, but the $175,000 Honeymoon Handicap for 3-year-old fillies on turf is significant as well. A win or placing could lead to a start in the $750,000 American Oaks over 1 1/4 miles on turf on July 5.

Missit, the winner of the Grade 2 Providencia Stakes at Santa Anita on April 5, starts in the Grade 2 Honeymoon, which is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf. The race has drawn an excellent field, led by the stakes winners Bel Air Sizzle, Gorgeous Goose, Lethal Heat, Magical Fantasy, Misty Ocean, and Sweeter Still.

Trainer Ben Cecil said he did not hesitate to pass the Senorita Stakes on April 30 with Missit, who has won 2 of 6 starts in England and California.

"In the long run, it's probably the best thing we did," Cecil said. "She's done well and she's filled out. Most of the better 3-year-old filly races are later on."

Owned by Three Chimneys Racing, Missit rallied from 4 1/2 lengths off the pace to win the Providencia by a nose over Sweeter Still, who returned to win the Senorita. The Providencia was Missit's first graded stakes win. Last fall in England, she was second in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes over seven furlongs.

The Providencia will be the longest race in Missit's career. "She'd have to have been in the top 10 of the 2-year-old fillies in England last year, and you don't see their kind come over here," Cecil said.

Tycoon Doby resumes racing Friday

Tycoon Doby, who placed in two turf stakes last summer, makes his 4-year-old debut in a $57,000 allowance race over 1 1/16 miles on turf on Friday evening.

Trained by Paddy Gallagher for Stuart Hyman, Tycoon Doby has won 2 of 8 starts. He was third in the Grade 3 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap here last June, and ran third but was placed second via disqualification in a division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar last July.

Shortly after that race, he was sidelined with a shin injury.

"He didn't need surgery," Gallagher said. "He needed to be turned out."

Tycoon Doby's wins have came over 7 1/2 furlongs and a mile, both on turf. He has not been worse than third in four starts on turf.

Tycoon Doby must beat Mind the Minister, who was a troubled second in an optional claimer on the Santa Anita hillside April 20, and the unbeaten Jungle Wave, who will be making his third start and first start around two turns.