02/11/2006 12:00AM

Mystery Giver just needs to find a race


OLDSMAR Fla. - When turf racing was canceled here Feb. 4 following record rainfall, the comeback of million-dollar-earner Mystery Giver, who was entered in an optional claiming race, was delayed. But Mystery Giver's trainer, Chris Block, took the setback in stride.

"We've waited this long, so I guess a little more time won't hurt," he said.

"We had planned to see how he ran last week, then give some thought to the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup on Feb. 25, but obviously we're going to regroup now." he said. "We're hopeful to find a spot for him soon. Hopefully we can get the old boy back in action."

Mystery Giver has not raced since the 2004 Arlington Million. When he pulled up after the race, in which he finished 10th, it was discovered he had suffered a severe tear to the suspensory of his right hind leg. At the time of his injury, Mystery Giver had already scored 11 wins from 33 starts in a career that dates back to 2001. A gelded son of Dynaformer, his victories include the Grade 2, $500,000 Mervin Muniz Memorial at the Fair Grounds, the Grade 3 Carey Memorial at Hawthorne, and three consecutive runnings of the Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap. All five of those races were on turf.

Although Mystery Giver's injury was serious, he eventually regained enough strength in the injured leg for Block to put him back in training.

"He's such a strong-willed horse - and loves to be at the track - that we thought he deserved a chance to see if he could make it back to the races," Block said. "Luckily he's a one-run horse, and the strain of a race isn't the same as it would be if he were a speed type that had to run hard the whole trip.

"We began treatment with a magnetic machine that helps with circulation and blood flow in the affected areas and have since gone on to putting him on the water treadmill. The treadmill is great for his aerobics while not subjecting him to the pounding one gets from galloping and working."

Mystery Giver, 8, recorded two five-furlong workouts in January at the Ocala Training Center.

"He's trained like he still has the fire to compete, but only time will tell," Block said. "When they get older they lose a step and it may well be that it'll take more than one race for him to get back in the game mentally as well as physically."