04/16/2007 11:00PM

Magnificience out with injury

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The dazzling 3-year-old filly Magnificience will be sidelined until next year because a chip was discovered in her left front ankle that requires minor surgery.

Magnificience burst to prominence with a breathtaking debut March 11 at Santa Anita, and followed with a five-length win April 1 in the Grade 3 Santa Paula Stakes. But soon after she won the 6 1/2-furlong Santa Paula with a 109 Beyer Speed Figure - highest of the year by a 3-year-old of either gender - Magnificience developed heat in an ankle.

Trainer Bruce Headley said preliminary X-rays came back clean, but the heat persisted and a second set of X-rays revealed the small chip.

"It was so slight," Headley said.

Dr. Gregory Ferraro will perform arthroscopic surgery to remove the chip next week, and Headley is confident that Magnificience will return in 2008 even better as a 4-year-old.

"Racehorses can be great horses after having a chip removed," Headley said, and cited Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Kona Gold as an example.

Kona Gold chipped a knee as a 3-year-old before he started. The chip was removed by Ferraro, and Kona Gold made his debut for Headley at age 4. Kona Gold campaigned through age 9, and won 14 races and more than $2.2 million from 30 starts.

While comparisons to Kona Gold might seem premature, Magnificience generated an instant fan club after her extraordinary first start. A tall, blaze-faced chestnut, Magnificience broke slowly, circled the field on the turn, and won geared down under Alex Solis.

Magnificience's reputation grew when she improved second time out by winning the Santa Paula.

"People stop me all the time in the grandstand to ask about her," Headley said, "When they win like that . . . she's a brilliant filly, and the best is yet to come."

Sired by Stormy Atlantic, Magnificience is owned by Headley, John Sikura, Tom Lenner, and Irwin Molasky.

Veterinarians suggested four months off before Magnificience resumes training. "I'm way more conservative," Headley said. "I'm going to give her six months."

Magnificience could resume galloping in October and have her first breeze in December or January.

She will remain at Santa Anita for six to eight weeks after the chip is removed, then spend the rest of her recuperation at Headley's home in Arcadia.

Midnight Lute needs surgery again

Bad luck continues to plague California-based Midnight Lute, who had an excuse Saturday when he finished fourth as the even-money favorite in the Grade 2 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup at Keeneland. Trainer Bob Baffert said the colt's tie-back surgery - a procedure to correct a breathing disorder - "came undone" and Midnight Lute could not get his air in the Commonwealth.

"He's going back in for surgery for his throat," Baffert said.

It will be the second time Midnight Lute has had the procedure, and the third time recently he has had misfortune. He broke slowly and raced wide Dec. 26 in the Grade 1 Malibu, finishing third in a race he could have won with a clean break. In the Grade 2 San Fernando on Jan. 13, he was caught wide throughout. Baffert said Midnight Lute could return later this spring.

Tough Tiz's Sis prepares for Oaks

Tough Tiz's Sis worked six furlongs Tuesday at Santa Anita for Baffert, and is aiming for the Kentucky Oaks. Tough Tiz's Sis won the WinStar Oaks at Sunland Park in her last start, March 18. She was given a time of 1:10.60 by track clockers for Tuesday's work, but Baffert said she worked seven furlongs in 1:24 and galloped out a mile in 1:39. Baffert also worked stakes winner Pirates Deputy seven furlongs in 1:25.80. Pirates Deputy is the early favorite for the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-old Cal-breds on April 29 at Hollywood Park.

Another new surface for Silent Name

Now that he is a graded-stakes-winning sprinter on turf and Polytrack, Silent Name will try for the same on Cushion Track. Silent Name ran the best race of his career Saturday at Keeneland, where he switched to Polytrack and won the seven-furlong Commonwealth by four lengths.

"It looks like we found a definite niche for him," trainer Gary Mandella said. "Maybe we found a way to maximize his potential."

Silent Name returned to California on Tuesday, and Mandella said the main summer objective for the son of Sunday Silence is the Grade 1, $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap, to be run July 7 on the Cushion Track at Hollywood Park. The seven-furlong Triple Bend is the expected return spot of Surf Cat.

Dilemma back to work

Dilemma emerged as one of the circuit's top 2-year-olds last fall, winning the Sunny Slope Stakes and finishing second to Belgravia in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue. But a tender shin prevented the son of Grand Slam from running in two-turn races and getting a shot at the spring classics.

"We would have liked to have done that, but he had that shin, so we had no choice," trainer Paddy Gallagher said.

Dilemma has returned to serious training, and his three-furlong workout on Monday was his first published work of the year.

"We'll have a better idea a month from now of where to go with him," Gallagher said.

The Gallagher-trained Hucking Hot, who got loose in the post parade for the Ashland Stakes and was scratched, has returned home. Gallagher said she hit the fence and had some "scrapes and bruises" that are not considered serious. Hucking Hot is expected to run next on the Cushion Track at Hollywood, where she finished a troubled fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet last fall.

* Romance Is Diane worked six furlongs Tuesday at Hollywood in 1:13.80 and is expected to be favored over Swiss Diva when they meet April 29 in the $200,000 Melair Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies. Trained by Mike Mitchell, Romance Is Diane won the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet in December before tailing off in her next two starts. Mitchell said Romance Is Diane will take blinkers off for the Melair.