04/13/2006 11:00PM

Miracle return for Cozy Guy?


On Monday, Cozy Guy, the winner of the 2004 California Cup Classic, will be transferred from Double J Farm to nearby Moody Creek Farm in Bonsall, Calif., where he will soon begin late exercise.

It is an event that seemed impossible last summer, when Cozy Guy was fighting for his life with a severe liver ailment. At times during July and August, co-owner Lance Hayes was resigned to losing Cozy Guy. Now he is wondering if Cozy Guy can make a comeback.

"I hope this continues to be lucky," Hayes said.

The turnaround has been credited to a suggestion by a Florida racing fan, who contacted trainer Dan Hendricks last summer, recounting a story of how he had suffered from liver problems and had recovered after undergoing treatment with an herb called milk thistle.

At that point, Hendricks, Hayes, and the other owners - his brother Jeff and the brothers Jerry and Dan Higman - were willing to try anything for Cozy Guy.

"I had heard about it before, and we thought we'd give it a try," Lance Hayes said of the herb.

At the time, Cozy Guy was at the San Luis Rey clinic in San Diego county. He had been sent there in early July, four months after he had finished unplaced in the Crystal Water Handicap at Santa Anita.

"He was that close to dying," Lance Hayes said. "When we visited him at the clinic, the veterinarian told us we were visiting a terminal cancer patient. When we left, we thought it was the last time we would see him."

After continued treatment at San Luis Rey Downs, Cozy Guy's condition began to improve, so much so that by August, Hendricks said he felt more confident that Cozy Guy would survive.

"He kept getting a little better every time we called," Hayes said. "The last we checked, they did a liver function and it came out normal."

Cozy Guy, a 5-year-old gelding who has won 7 of 18 starts and $418,104, has spent the last six months at Double J Farm. He returned to the clinic once to be treated for ulcers, but otherwise has had no complications, Hayes said. One issue faced during Cozy Guy's recovery was finding a sufficient amount of milk thistle, Hayes said.

Hendricks said Cozy Guy will be in light training in coming weeks.

"If he handles it, we'll go to the next stage," Hendricks said. "We'll stress him a little bit."

According to Lance Hayes and Hendricks, it is too soon to gauge whether Cozy Guy can make it back to the races. They are just happy that he is still alive.

"We'll take it slow and easy," Lance Hayes said. "If we have to go back to the clinic for any problems, we'll probably end it and let him be a horse. We figure we'll give him a chance."

Super High has first foal

Super High, the champion California-bred 3-year-old filly of 2002, delivered her first foal on April 9, a filly by Victory Gallop, owner John Harris announced.

A winner of 8 of 24 starts and $669,668, Super High will be bred back to the prominent California stallion Cee's Tizzy.

By High Brite out of Image of Super, Super High won the 2002 California Cup Distaff, missed most of 2003 because of injury, but returned to win two stakes in 2004 - the Work the Crowd Stakes at Golden Gate Fields and the Pro or Con Handicap at Santa Anita. In the Pro or Con, Super High finished a nose in front of Moscow Burning, the 2004 California-bred horse of the year.