07/30/2004 12:00AM

Island Sand will take rest of summer off


Island Sand, winner of the Grade 1 Acorn and the Kentucky Oaks runner-up, has rejoined trainer Larry Jones's barn at Ellis Park following a second surgery to correct an entrapped epiglottis.

Island Sand will not run this summer at Ellis Park, or elsewhere. Because she missed weeks of training, the major summer stakes races are no longer options, Jones said. If Island Sand trains well following the latest surgery, Jones would like to give her one successful fall race to prepare for the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

The latest surgery, performed at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., was necessary because of complications that arose from the first surgery, which was done shortly after Island Sand ran third in the Mother Goose on June 26. An entrapped epiglottis restricts airflow from a horse's throat to its lungs.

"It wasn't healing right," Jones said. "It was just one of those things that they needed to get in there and tidy things up."

Island Sand will resume training in two weeks, and her prognosis is for a "100 percent" recovery, Jones said.

Thompson hopes to return by fall

Island Sand's regular rider, Terry Thompson, who typically rides at Ellis Park, is also on the mend. Thompson broke his right leg in four places in a three-horse spill at Prairie Meadows in late June and subsequently had a rod inserted in the leg.

Reached at his home in Iowa, Thompson said he hopes to return to the saddle in time to ride Island Sand in the fall. Despite the severity of his leg injury, Thompson said he considers himself lucky to have not been permanently disabled.

To return by the fall, Thompson's recovery would have to go perfectly. Following his surgery, he said his doctor estimated he would need three to five months off. Thompson will be re-evaluated later this month.

Another jockey missing the Ellis meet is Mike Morgan, who injured his back in a chain-reaction spill at Churchill Downs in May.

Morgan has been slowly recovering from a cracked vertebra and is not expected to ride until the start of 2005, said his agent, Mary Ellis.

Patin victorious in return

Jockey Billy Patin won his first race since returning from a five-year suspension for carrying a buzzer, taking the 10th race Wednesday at Ellis Park aboard Herecomes Unc. It was Patin's first win in 68 mounts since he resumed riding late in the Churchill Downs meet.

Patin was suspended five years by the Arkansas Racing Commission for carrying a buzzer - an electric shocking device - aboard Valhol in the 1999 Arkansas Derby.

He was 70-1-2-10 at Ellis Park heading into Friday's card.

Fire Slam still on for King's Bishop

Fire Slam, winner of last week's Don Bernhardt Memorial Stakes at Ellis Park, remains on course for a start in the Grade 1 King's Bishop Aug. 28 at Saratoga, trainer David Carroll said.

Although Fire Slam prevailed in the Don Bernhardt, he was not dominant. He won by a head over Unbridled America, and his 6 1/2-furlong time of 1:16.91 resulted in a 98 Beyer Speed Figure, down from the 109 Beyer he earned in winning the Grade 2 Riva Ridge Stakes at Belmont in his preceding start.

Carroll downplayed the small margin of victory, saying Fire Slam received a confident ride from Pat Day and that Fire Slam has a tendency to run "to his competition a little bit." Plans call for Fire Slam to be shipped to Saratoga the week of the King's Bishop.

Carroll will be making another trip to Saratoga Springs this summer, but for a ceremony rather than a race. He will be present for the induction of trainer Shug McGaughey into the Racing Hall of Fame on Aug. 9.

Bare Necessities to defend Gardenia

The lone graded race at Ellis Park, the $200,000 Gardenia Stakes, will take place next Saturday. Sixteen fillies and mares have been nominated for the race, a Grade 3 at 1 1/8 miles.

Expected to compete is millionaire Bare Necessities, who won the Gardenia in 2003. Other likely starters include Miss Fortunate, New Dreams, and Wildwood Royal. More could join them after weights are released this weekend, stakes coordinator Tia Murphy said.

Other leading nominees for the Gardenia include Grade 1 winners Mayo on the Side and Victory Encounter.

Track offers students scholarships

In conjunction with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Ellis Park will hold its fifth annual $10,000 KTA Scholarship Day on Sunday.

Similar to programs at Keeneland and Churchill, 10 scholarships of $1,000 apiece will be given away during the afternoon. All qualified students are eligible for the giveaway, regardless of scholastic accomplishments or financial need. Full-time college students who present valid college identification can complete the necessary registration form and be entered in the drawings. General admission Sunday is free.

The Sunday feature, a $26,000 entry-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on turf, drew a field of seven, led by Bonanza Jellybean. A 3-year-old daughter of Parade Ground, Bonanza Jellybean has flourished in two starts on turf, winning at Churchill Downs and placing third in an allowance there July 3. The runner-up in that allowance, Sean's Baby, returned to win a first-level allowance at Ellis Park on Wednesday.

Mark Guidry, who rode Bonanza Jellybean to victory at Churchill on June 3, has the mount.