02/13/2008 1:00AM

High Heels retired before 2008 debut

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - High Heels, the third-place finisher in last year's Kentucky Oaks who was to make her season debut Saturday in the $50,000 Pippin at Oaklawn Park, has been retired, trainer Gary Hartlage said Wednesday. She was found to have a bone chip in her right knee after being X-rayed on Wednesday.

"We were hoping this was going to be a big year," said Hartlage. "It wasn't meant to be."

High Heels last raced on Nov. 22, and finished second in the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs. Her biggest win came in the Grade 2, $250,000 Fantasy at Oaklawn last April. From there, she ran in the Kentucky Oaks, finishing third to Rags to Riches.

High Heels retires with a record of 3 wins from 17 starts and earnings of $484,636. She is a 4-year-old daughter of E Dubai and the stakes-winning mare Ornate, and raced for her breeder, Anita Ebert.

Nine probables for Southwest

The field for the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest for 3-year-olds here Monday stood at nine as of Wednesday morning, with Liberty Bull and Sacred Journey both invading from Fair Grounds for the one-mile race. Others scheduled to run are probable favorite Turf War, Sierra Sunset, Silver Edition, Royal Hudson, He's Eze, Isabull, and Denis of Cork.

Of the probables, Liberty Bull is the most accomplished horse over the Oaklawn strip. He won the inaugural running of the $50,000 Smarty Jones on Jan. 21 in his first start in Hot Springs. His success here is one reason he is returning for the Southwest.

"He showed an affection for that track when he won the Smarty Jones, and this race is the same distance," said Tom Amoss, who trains Liberty Bull. "And, it's very attractive in the way of the purse. Those were all contributing factors."

Eddie Razo Jr. has the mount on Liberty Bull.

Julien Leparoux will ride Sacred Journey, said trainer Dallas Stewart. Sacred Journey will be making his two-turn debut off consecutive sprint wins at Fair Grounds.

* Sam Black Church and Lemon Custard, who finished second and third to the promising Richland Creek last out in a first-level allowance at Oaklawn, return at the same level in the eighth race Friday. The 1 1/16-mile allowance drew a competitive field that includes Piper's Fort, who was second in a $60,000 claiming race at Aqueduct in his last start, Dec. 7.