07/20/2006 11:00PM

Injuries raise surface concerns

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She's An Eleven, winning the Melair, could start in the San Clemente 'Cap.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Seven horses were vanned off in the first two days of racing at Del Mar and an eighth was injured while galloping Friday, causing concern among horsemen and prompting track officials to call a meeting on Saturday to discuss the track surface.

Two of the seven horses vanned off on Wednesday and Thursday were euthanized as a result of injuries: Blazing Sunset, who was pulled up in the stretch of a division of the Oceanside Stakes on turf Wednesday, and Ugotadowhatugotado, who was pulled up on the backstretch of a $16,000 dirt claimer on Thursday.

On Friday, Simply Because, a Seattle Slew filly trained by David Hofmans, suffered suspensory injuries while galloping. Simply Because set a five-furlong course record on turf at Hollywood Park earlier this month. She won the CERF Handicap at Del Mar last summer.

"She'll have surgery and we'll save her for a broodmare," Hofmans said. "This track is not starting out too good, is it?"

Hofmans said that Simply Because was being pointed for the $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap on Aug. 18.

Trainers say that horses coming from different surfaces at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita need time to adapt to Del Mar.

Del Mar executive vice president Craig Fravel said track safety is frequently discussed between racing secretary Tom Robbins and track superintendent Steve Wood.

"We spend a lot of time and effort to get the track as good as it can be," Fravel said.

Saturday's meeting was expected to include officials with the Thoroughbred Owners of California, California Thoroughbred Trainers, and Del Mar.

The injury to Ugotadowhatugotado on Wednesday was particularly stinging to trainer Mike Harrington, who claimed her for $16,000 in the race.

"I wanted her for a broodmare," he said.

Five other horses who were vanned off on Wednesday and Thursday were either not injured, face indefinite periods on the sidelines, or have been retired.

Geronimo, pulled up shortly after the start of Wednesday's fourth race on the turf, had a series of nagging injuries and has been retired, trainer Eric Guillot said.

Honolulu Baby, who ran in the last race on Wednesday, grabbed a quarter, according to trainer Frank Veiga. Veiga said he expects Honolulu Baby to return to racing.

Two horses were vanned off from Thursday's fourth race. Rude Behavior was not injured, according to trainer Peter Miller. She will race later at this meeting, Miller said. Home Tour suffered suspensory injuries and has been retired, trainer Robert Bean said.

In Thursday's fifth race, Thinking Broadway was vanned off after apparently being kicked by a rival at the top of the stretch, trainer Paddy Gallagher said. She was to have a hairline fracture in her left rear leg, an injury that may require surgery, Gallagher said on Friday.

Some trainers are reluctant to blame the condition of the surfaces. Trainer Bill Spawr said his horses have had no problems with the track. Spawr trains Bordonaro, one of the nation's top sprinters.

"It's too premature to make any judgements," Spawr said of the track. "Let's give it a week or 10 days."

Proposals to change CO2 test

Horses who test just below the maximum permitted level of total carbon dioxide would be placed in a detention barn for their following start, if a proposed set of changes introduced Friday by Dr. Rick Arthur at a meeting of the California Horse Racing Board's medication committee are instituted. Arthur, a private veterinarian, has accepted a position this fall as the CHRB's equine medical director.

The maximum permitted level of total carbon dioxide is 37 millimoles per liter of plasma.

Arthur recommended several changes to the total carbon dioxide testing program, which has been in place since 2005: that trainers who have a horse who tests in excess of 36 millimoles per liter be notified of the test results; that trainers be asked to voluntarily place such horses in a detention barn for their next start; and that trainers who fail to do so face more significant sanctions in the event of future total carbon dioxide violations. In addition, Arthur recommended that a trainer who has a horse voluntarily placed in the detention barn be billed for the costs of housing that horse.

Currently, trainers are not notified if a horse tests at less than 37 millimoles. Trainers who have a horse test in excess of the permitted levels are subject to a fine and/or suspension by the CHRB. Their horses are placed in a 30-day detention barn for 24 hours before starting. The detention barn program is administered by a consortium of racetracks and horsemen's organizations.

Arthur said that 39 blood tests taken from 37 horses during the Hollywood Park meeting tested in excess of 36 millimoles, but only one was above 37 millimoles. He said that 27 of the 39 samples came from the horses of two trainers, but he did not reveal their names. The other 12 samples in excess of 36 millimoles came from 12 different trainers, Arthur said.

The only horse to test in excess of the permitted level, Wisdom Cat, was trained by Doug O'Neill. His horses raced out a detention barn for 30 days from mid-June to mid-July.

Fast work leads to different plan

She's an Eleven, the winner of the Melair Stakes at Hollywood Park in April, has been held out of Sunday's Fleet Treat Stakes at Del Mar after recording a workout that her trainer, John Sadler, deemed too fast.

She's an Eleven worked five furlongs in 57.80 seconds last Tuesday, the fastest of 43 recorded works at the distance. She may start in the $150,000 San Clemente Handicap at a mile on turf for 3-year-old fillies on July 29.

"She just worked too fast,"

Sadler said. "I'm looking at the San Clemente or an alternate plan."