08/29/2008 11:00PM

Injury ends McCann's Mojave's career


DEL MAR, Calif. - McCann's Mojave, the multiple-stakes-winning California-bred, has been retired to stud after recent tests revealed damage to a tendon, owner Mike Willman said.

McCann's Mojave was scratched from the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 24 because of concern over a tendon. Additional tests on Friday revealed that the tendon had not improved, Willman said.

"The risk of injury was there," Willman said. "He's taken us on the ride of a lifetime and we had to do right by the horse.

"He's been a miraculous horse for us. It's a sad, sad day. It hurts a lot because of how well he was doing going into that race."

Bred by Willman and Nikki Hunt, McCann's Mojave, 8, won 12 of 35 starts and $1,513,565. His biggest win was a 33-1 upset in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic for California-breds and Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park in 2007.

McCann's Mojave later won two Grade 3 stakes at Golden Gate Fields - the All American Stakes last November and the Berkeley Stakes in May of this year. In his final start, he finished fourth in the Hollywood Gold Cup on June 28.

Willman said that McCann's Mojave will stand at stud at Rancho San Miguel in San Miguel, Calif.

Believe in Hope a precocious one

The career of Believe in Hope, who starts in Wednesday's $250,000 Del Mar Futurity, is much farther along than trainer Ron Ellis expected.

Ellis thought Believe in Hope would need a start or two to beat maidens, and was delightfully surprised when the colt rallied from eighth to win a maiden race at 5 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 2 in his career debut.

That win made the Grade 1 Futurity an option.

"He surprised me to get the job done at a shorter distance," Ellis said. "It showed the kind of quality he has. I don't get too high on them until they run the first time. You can only hope they outrun your expectations."

Ellis, cautious by nature, thinks the seven-furlong distance of the Futurity will be a better fit for Believe in Hope, but has the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 as a long-range goal.

"I'm very excited to run him two turns," he said.

The Del Mar Futurity field is also expected to include Arashi Cat, Blazing Spirit, Coronet of a Baron, Escalon, Kelly Leak, Mensa Heat, Midshipman, Southern Exchange, Street Hero, and Wild Wild Posse.

Slew's Tiznow to try graded company

Slew's Tiznow won his first stakes in Friday's $108,700 El Cajon Stakes. The victory has left trainer Doug O'Neill debating which graded stakes in the autumn is best for the 3-year-old.

O'Neill said the possibilities include the $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 20 or the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 27.

One thing is certain: Slew's Tiznow returned from a layoff of more than 10 months to run an outstanding race in the one-mile El Cajon. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Slew's Tiznow ($13) stalked the pace to the final furlong and pulled clear late to win by three lengths over pacesetter Young Joe. Slew's Tiznow was timed in 1:35.62.

Owned by Joseph LaCombe, Slew's Tiznow had not started since finishing second in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last fall. An illness kept him out of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last fall and races earlier this year, O'Neill said.

Vienna agrees to fine

Trainer Darrell Vienna has been fined $8,500 in a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board after Medici Code tested in excess of the permitted levels of clenbuterol twice at Del Mar in 2007, the racing board said in a statement on Saturday.

The overages were found in tests taken after Medici Code finished second in a division of the Oceanside Stakes and after a win in the Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap. Medici Code earned $107,260 from the two races, which was ordered redistributed last fall.

Medici Code later won the $400,000 Del Mar Derby last summer, but tested clean in that race.

Clenbuterol is a bronchial dilator used to aid horses with breathing problems. It is allowed to appear in postrace tests at minute levels. The medication is listed as a Class 3 drug. Violations for medications in classes 1, 2, and 3 are subject to a redistribution of purses and a possible fine and/or suspension for a trainer.

Laird's Lassie has tendon injury

Laird's Lassie, third in the CTBA Stakes in her career debut on July 18, was scratched from the Generous Portion Stakes on Wednesday because of a tendon injury, trainer Mel Stute.

Stute said late last week that Laird's Lassie had been turned out "with the start of a tendon." He did not say how long she would be sidelined.