08/31/2001 11:00PM

Fans to get a last look at Point Given


DEL MAR, Calif. - Point Given, whose retirement was announced on Friday due to a tendon injury, will be paraded between races on Wednesday, the closing day of the meeting.

According to track president Joe Harper, Point Given will be presented in the paddock and on the racetrack, and a video of his career highlights, which includes wins in the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, will be shown to the crowd.

Gary Stevens, who rode Point Given, paid tribute to the nation's top 3-year-old, saying the colt will be a hard act to follow.

"He gave us a lot of thrills, gave me the biggest thrills of my career," Stevens said. "I definitely don't think we tapped his full capacity yet. I think if he is not considered great right now, he certainly was destined for superstardom."

Right place, right time

Doug Peterson would not dare to compare Sigfreto with Seattle Slew, but he believes he ended up with both in large part by chance. At Belmont Park in the late 1970's, Peterson was stabled adjacent to Billy Turner, and had Seattle Slew's co-owner, Dr. Ted Hill, doing his veterinary work. When Seattle Slew was removed from Turner's care, Peterson, then largely unknown, got the opportunity of a lifetime.

This spring at Hollywood Park, an obscure gray gelding from Florida shipped in for a stakes race at Hollywood Park. The owner of that horse was looking to get out of the game. Peterson, having seen the horse train, thought there was plenty of upside. So he made an offer of $125,000 after the horse ran in the Cinema Handicap, and ended up with Sigfreto.

"It's funny how life works," Peterson said Saturday morning at Del Mar.

Sigfreto has now run twice for Peterson and co-owner Richard O'Neill, and won once, scoring at 39-1 in a division of Del Mar's opening-day Oceanside Stakes. On Monday, Peterson will try for another upset with Sigfreto in the Grade 2, $300,000 Del Mar Derby.

Sigfreto's plebian pedigree, by Spunky Rascal out of the Flying Pidgeon mare Memories of P J, Peterson calls "by truck, out of trailer."

Peterson said Sigfreto needed extensive dental work when he was acquired, had to put on weight, and needed an attitude adjustment. He's still "very tough to saddle," Peterson said, he's a brat at the starting gate, and he's the barn's alarm clock, hollering for his food at 3:30 every morning. "He wants to be fed right away," Peterson said.

But this plucky gelding proved he belonged in the Del Mar Derby with his victory in the Oceanside. And though Monday's field is considerably tougher, so too, Peterson believes, is Sigfreto.

"He gallops two miles every morning. He loves to train," Peterson said. "And I know he likes the course."

Officer raises Baffert's spirits

Like Point Given, Officer is owned by the Thoroughbred Corp. and trained by Baffert. On Saturday, Officer worked a half-mile in 47 seconds in preparation for Wednesday's $250,000 Del Mar Futurity. He will be a heavy favorite against at least three others - Historic Speech, Kamsack, and Megatron.

"He's the best 2-year-old I've ever brought down here," Baffert said. "He worked great today. He did it effortlessly. I've been in a funk and he brought me out of it."

Final piece of puzzle

Trainer Mike Machowsky is having the best Del Mar meeting of his career this summer, with seven wins from a 15-horse barn, and through Friday he is in the top 10 in the standings.

The one element missing is a stakes win, which could be fixed when Brian's Gold Chest starts in Monday's $100,000 I'm Smokin Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds.

Brian's Gold Chest won a six-furlong maiden race for $62,500 claimers by a half-length at 13-1 on Aug. 10 in his third career start.

"I took the blinkers off to get him to relax and he did, but not as much as I him wanted to," Machowsky said. "In his first two races, he showed speed for a half-mile and stopped. If he's sitting fourth or fifth, it will be perfect."

Tamara Princess remains undefeated

Tamara Princess, under Mike Smith, won the $81,400 Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar on Friday to remain unbeaten after three starts.

A half-sister to 2000 champion older female Riboletta, Tamara Princess won her first stakes in the Torrey Pines, a restricted stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Tamara Princess ($4.60) ran a mile in 1:36.18, finishing two lengths in front of Cindy's Hero, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante last year. Cindy's Hero finished 3 1/2 lengths in front of Warren's Whistle, who was followed by Irguns Angel and Notable Career.

Tamara Princess is owned by Aaron and Marie Jones and trained by Eduardo Inda.

Fairplex rivalry

Jockeys Martin Pedroza and Tyler Baze who finished one-two in the jockey standings at the 2000 Fairplex Park meeting, will renew their rivalry when the meeting opens a run of 17 consecutive days at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona on Friday.

Pedroza finished two winners in front of Baze last year. Baze won an Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding apprentice jockey last year.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman