03/08/2003 12:00AM

Knee chip shelves Gygistar


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Timing, it seems, is not Gygistar's strong suit.

Last fall, two weeks before the Breeders' Cup, Gygistar suffered a severe foot injury that prevented him from running in the $1 million Sprint.

Saturday, one week before he was to ship to Dubai for the $2 million Golden Shaheen, Gygistar was diagnosed with a chip in his right knee that will sideline him for several months. Gygistar was to undergo surgery in south Florida Saturday to have the chip removed.

The chip was detected on an X-ray Saturday morning shortly after Gygistar worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds over an extremely fast Gulfstream main track.

"He breezed well, but he wasn't himself cooling out,'' Hennig said. "We took pictures right away. Dr. [Stephen] Selway feels it will clear up real well and in six to eight weeks we can have him back in training.''

Gygistar has only raced once since winning last summer's Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga, which capped a five-race win streak. He made his 4-year-old debut in the Grade 3 Deputy Minister Handicap here Feb. 9 and finished a non-threatening fifth behind Native Heir, who equaled the track record for 6 1/2 furlongs.

Hennig said that the chip might have actually occurred in that race, though X-rays taken the day after the race did not reveal it. "But that doesn't mean it wasn't starting,'' Hennig said.

Hennig said he hoped to have Gygistar back to the races by summer. Gygistar is a 4-year-old gelding owned by Edward Evans.

Hennig eyes weekend stakes

Though Gygistar is out, several other Hennig-trained runners are being pointed for upcoming stakes.

Roaring Fever, unsuccessful in two route tries, will cut back in distance to seven furlongs in Saturday's $150,000 Swale Stakes on the Florida Derby undercard. Friday, Hennig may run Davona Dale third-place finisher Gold Player in the $200,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes. Next Sunday, Hennig will send out Gold Mover in the $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes.

Roaring Fever, a full brother to multiple stakes winner Raging Fever, went 1 for 4 in one-turn races last year, including a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Cowdin. Roaring Fever finished fifth behind Indy Dancer in a Jan. 4 entry-level allowance race before finishing third behind dead-heat winners Senor Swinger and Ten Cents a Shine Jan. 31. Both races were at 1 1/16 miles.

"Maybe backing up and running a little shorter off the last race will give him some confidence,'' Hennig said. "I thought he ran very well in his last race. Senor Swinger is a pretty nice horse.''

Raging Fever, meanwhile, is being pointed to the $150,000 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct March 29. Raging Fever has not run since finishing third in the First Flight Handicap at Aqueduct last Oct. 26.

Mandy's Gold may go to Oaklawn

Grade 1 winner Mandy's Gold, who won her seasonal debut in an allowance race here Feb. 24, worked six furlongs in 1:14 Saturday at Gulfstream. Though nominated to next Sunday's $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs here, Mandy's Gold is more likely to start in Saturday's $200,000 Oaklawn Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.

"There doesn't look like there's going to be a lot of horses shipping in for it,'' trainer Michael Gorham said. "Right now, I'm kind of leaning toward that race. This track has been a little hard on her with as fast as it's been.''

Gorham mentioned that Mandy's Gold got "real foot-sore'' after last year's Hurricane Bertie, which sidelined her for a while.

Gorham said that should Mandy's Gold run well in the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup, he may leave her there to run April 5 in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap, which is expected to feature the seasonal debut of Horse of the Year Azeri.

"If you were going to meet Azeri, her first start of the year wouldn't be a bad time to do it,'' Gorham said.

Gorham said that Mandy's Gold would van to Oaklawn Monday.

McPeek off to Brazil

Trainer Ken McPeek was to leave south Florida Saturday night for Brazil where he was to help prep recent acquisition Hard Buck for the upcoming UAE Derby at Nad Al Sheba in Dubai.

Hard Buck was one of several Brazilian-based horses that McPeek has acquired. McPeek said he has three Grade 1 winners and a filly, Daddy's Darling. The latter is already in quarantine in New York.

"We're trying to balance out the stable with older horses and there are some good prospects down there,'' McPeek said.

McPeek said most of his Brazilian horses would not run in North America until the summer.

"There's usually a 45- to 60-day adjustment period before they go under tack when they shift from Southern Hemisphere to Northern Hemisphere,'' McPeek said. "You probably won't see them until early summer.''

McPeek could be out of the United States for up to three weeks. McPeek said the only way he would come back to the U.S. before the end of the month is if the current trainer of Hard Buck wants to saddle the horse in Dubai.

In McPeek's absence, assistant Helen Pitts will run the south Florida shed row. Among the horses she will saddle in upcoming stakes is Midnight Cry, who worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 Saturday in preparation for Friday's Forward Gal Stakes.

Midnight Cry, who finished third behind Awesome Humor in the Grade 1 Spinaway, has not been out since finishing second behind Elegant Designer in the Great State Challenge Juvenile Fillies last December at Sam Houston.

"She's a good, solid filly,'' McPeek said. "I'm real pleased with the way she looks since she's come back. We gave her six weeks off in Ocala. Our expectations aren't that high because she's coming off the shelf.''

* Colita, a possible starter for the Florida Derby, worked five furlongs in 1:01 Saturday at Palm Meadows. Colita is also under consideration for the Gotham Stakes, which will be run at a mile and 70 yards over Aqueduct's inner track next Sunday.