07/09/2004 12:00AM

Hendricks likely paralyzed


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trainer Dan Hendricks has suffered paralysis from the waist down as the result of a spinal cord injury suffered in a motorcycle accident on Wednesday, but intends to resume training when he leaves the hospital, according to his wife, Samantha.

Dan Hendricks, 45, was scheduled to be transported on Friday from a hospital in Riverside County, Calif., to a San Diego-area hospital, where he will undergo surgery in coming days to stabilize his spine.

"It looks like there is paralysis," Samantha Hendricks said. "There is still a lot of swelling. Doctors say that with injuries like this they don't expect the person to walk again."

Samantha Hendricks said surgery will be conducted on Monday or Tuesday in San Diego and that rehabilitation could begin a week later.

"That surgery is to support his back," she said. "It's pretty much a routine surgery for this type of injury. It's not that technical. When he's got that support, he can go to rehab."

She said Dan is hopeful he can return to the barn by the end of the summer.

Samantha Hendricks said that some progress was made on Thursday, when he regained feeling from his upper chest to the bottom of his rib cage. "He got that much more feeling back," she said. "They don't expect a miracle here, but the more he can gain the better."

Owner Marty Wygod, who has had horses with Hendricks for several years, organized the transfer to the San Diego hospital, Samantha said.

"He took control of the medical side," she said. "He's done everything. He's got the best neurological party together. He's going above and beyond what you expect a person to do."

On Friday morning, Hendricks's 23-horse stable at Hollywood Park was under the direction of assistant trainer Francisco Alvarado and foreman Bernardino Ortiz, who has worked for Hendricks for 17 years.

The barn has three stakes horses among its members - Don'tsellmeshort, Reba's Gold, and Runaway Dancer. In the past, Hendricks has trained such notable horses as Feverish, Gray Slewpy, Smooth Player, and Stylish Star.

Samantha said she has been touched by the outpouring of support from the stable's other clients and friends.

"Our owners have been incredible," she said. "Danny has incredible owners. There is not one thinking of pulling out."

Southern Image abscess forces missed start

An abscess kept Southern Image from starting as a heavy favorite in Saturday's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup and will keep him sidelined for at least another week, trainer Mike Machowsky said.

The setback has forced Machowsky and the partnership that owns the 4-year-old to focus on the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 22 as a possible next start.

The winner of the Santa Anita Handicap and Pimlico Special earlier this year, Southern Image was declared from the Hollywood Gold Cup in late June after he showed evidence of soreness in his left front foot. An abscess surfaced in the foot last weekend, Machowsky said.

Since then, Southern Image has not trained because of concern he might have a quarter crack, Machowsky said.

"In the next week, I'll have an idea of where I'm at," he said.

Machowsky said the San Diego Handicap on Aug. 1 was a "no go" and that the Pacific Classic is the next top race on the agenda.

Southern Image has not started since finishing second in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 12.

"We know he can run well off a layoff," Machowsky said.

Souvenir Gift: Can she go twice in three weeks?

Souvenir Gift, the unbeaten leader of the 2-year-old filly division in California, may not start in both the $150,000 Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 7 and $250,000 Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 28 at Del Mar.

Trainer Sam Semkin is worried that the three-week gap between races is too short. He is considering waiting for the more lucrative Debutante for Souvenir Gift. Last Monday, Souvenir Gift remained undefeated in three starts after winning the Grade 3 Landaluce Stakes over six furlongs.

"Is three weeks enough time to come back or should I skip the Sorrento and come back in the Debutante? I'll have to figure it out," he said.

Semkin co-owns Souvenir Gift with Greg Unruh. Ultimately, they would like to start Souvenir Gift in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.

Benoit honored for 51 years of service

Bob Benoit, who has been associated with Hollywood Park for more than 51 years, has been named the winner of the Laffit Pincay Jr. Award. A ceremony was scheduled during Saturday's Hollywood Gold Cup program.

The newly created award honors a racing personality who has served the sport with integrity, dedication, determination, and distinction.

Benoit, 77, began working as a member of the track's publicity staff in 1953, and was named director of publicity in 1969. Benoit was named general manager and a member of the board of directors in 1977.

In recent years, Benoit's photography company has provided winner's circle and action shots at Southern California tracks.

Pincay retired last year after suffering neck injuries in a spill at Santa Anita.

Oak Tree exec Ray Rogers dead at 87

Ray Rogers, an executive with the Oak Tree Racing Association and Los Angeles Turf Club at Santa Anita, died of a heart attack on July 5. Rogers was 87.

Rogers worked at Santa Anita from 1955 until 1989 in various capacities. From 1976 to 1989, he was the general manager of the Los Angeles Turf Club, which operates the spring-summer meeting at Santa Anita.

He later worked for Oak Tree, which runs the fall meeting, serving as executive vice president and as the coordinator for the Breeders' Cup in 1993. No funeral services were held, at his request.

* Jockey Alex Solis, who through Thursday was fourth in the standings with 37 winners but led all riders with 12 stakes wins, is taking a brief vacation next week. According to his agent, Scotty McClellan, Solis will be away from Wednesday through Saturday but will return to ride the final day of the meeting, July 18.