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Heatseeker hiatus may be brief
INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Heatseeker, who was declared from Saturday's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on Friday after developing swelling in an ankle, will undergo further diagnostic tests before resuming training, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said.
Heatseeker was found to have swelling in his left front ankle on Thursday morning. When the swelling did not immediately subside, Hollendorfer and owner William de Burgh withdrew the 5-year-old from the Gold Cup that evening.
The leading older horse in California this year, Heatseeker would have been heavily favored in the Gold Cup.
Hollendorfer said X-rays taken of Heatseeker's ankle on Thursday were negative.
"We'll scan the ankle in a couple of days," he said. "Hopefully, it will calm down and he can resume training."
Hollendorfer said that the ankle has responded to preliminary treatment. He described the injury as "untimely" and said that he and de Burgh had little choice but to withdraw Heatseeker.
"We consulted with our vet," Hollendorfer said. "Will de Burgh didn't feel it was worth taking the chance and I didn't either. We have to do what's right for Heatseeker.
"He filled up a left front ankle and had some heat in it. It still has some heat in it. We made the decision not to run. We hope to run later in the year."
If no significant injury is diagnosed and Heatseeker is able to resume training, the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 24 would be the short-term goal, Hollendorfer said.
Heatseeker has won 7 of 17 starts and $1,180,223. Earlier this year, he won the Santa Anita Handicap and Californian Stakes and finished second in the San Antonio and Oaklawn handicaps.
Declan's Moon hangs 'em up
Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old male of 2004, has been retired after finishing last of seven in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park on Thursday, trainer Ron Ellis said.
The loss was Declan's Moon's fifth consecutive defeat. After winning his first five starts in 2004 and 2005, Declan's Moon fought through injuries and setbacks, winning just one race in 13 subsequent starts. Owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel, Declan's Moon won 6 of 18 starts and $705,647.
In recent starts, Declan's Moon has been plagued by a breathing problem, which contributed to losses in all three of his starts this year. In Thursday's race, Declan's Moon, 6, led to early stretch but faded to finish 10 lengths behind race winner Mostacolli Mort.
"He can't get his air," Ellis said. "It was only under severe stress that it happened. We tried everything and it's not something that can be fixed."
A gelding, Declan's Moon earned his championship by winning three stakes at 2, including the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity and Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity. He was considered a top candidate for the 2005 Kentucky Derby and won his first start that year, the Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita. But then he was sidelined by a knee injury that required surgery.
"His first race at 3 was good," Ellis said. "He never came back the same after surgery. It was too bad because we saw the real horse in his first few races and after that it wasn't the same."
Retirement plans for Declan's Moon were uncertain as of Friday.
"The Siegels will find a nice place for him to live out his life in peace and quiet," Ellis said.
Mullins trio in Captain Squire
Without the horses of trainer Jeff Mullins, there would not be a $75,000 Captain Squire Handicap at Hollywood Park on Sunday.
Mullins trains three of the six entrants - Sea of Pleasure, Ten Meropa, and White Spar. Sea of Pleasure and White Spar figure to be near the front, while Ten Meropa is a threat from off the pace in the race over 6 1/2 furlongs.
Sea of Pleasure, the winner of the Sophomore Sprint Stakes at Bay Meadows in February, was third in an optional claimer against older horses on June 5. In the past, he has been lightning quick in the opening furlong, often fading late.
"We've done a lot of work with him, trying to get him to settle and relax," Mullins said. "If he breaks tardy, a guy can rate him. If he breaks running, you can let him go."
White Spar, 3, has won his last three starts, including two stakes at Turf Paradise in April. He has won 4 of 7 starts and $110,132, and will be making his first start for Mullins.
"I thought he was an older horse when I first got him," Mullins said. "He's like an old pro."
Ten Meropa won the Grade 3 Baldwin Stakes on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on March 2, but became ill following that race.
"He missed enough time that we had to regroup," Mullins said.
Last year in England, Ten Meropa won a six-furlong maiden race on a synthetic surface.
Each of the other three runners in the race has stakes experience.
Leonides was second in the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby over 1 1/16 miles on May 10, a distance that was beyond his best, trainer Vladimir Cerin said. Leonides was a sprint stakes winner at Turf Paradise earlier this year.
"We gave him a little break after the Texas trip," Cerin said. "The race he won at Arizona he came from just off the pace."
E Z's Gentlemen is making his first start since finishing seventh in the Del Mar Futurity last September.
Young Joe was second in the Shecky Greene Stakes at Arlington Park last month. The Captain Squire Handicap will be his first start for trainer David Hofmans.
Misty Ocean to skip American Oaks
Misty Ocean, the winner of the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap here on June 7, will pass the $750,000 American Oaks next Saturday in favor of the $150,000 San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar on July 26, according to Hollendorfer, who trains the filly.
He cited "too many races in too short of a period of time" as the reason to skip the Grade 1 American Oaks over 1 1/4 miles on turf.
Misty Ocean made three starts in a five-week period in May and June, racing on the same weekends as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.
Hollywood Park racing officials said that the Canada-based filly Ginger Brew and Eastern-based Life Is Sweet will also not start in the American Oaks, resulting in late invitations being issued to Magical Fantasy, Smooth Performer, and Zaskar.
They join Annie Skates, Backseat Rhythm, Bel Air Sizzle, Carribean Sunset, Clearly Foxy, My Baby By, Pure Clan, Raw Silk, and Satan's Circus as probable starters.