08/16/2004 11:00PM

Mystery Giver may be done


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - In what may ultimately prove a cruel twist, a horse that many people regarded as the pride of Illinois racing may have met a premature end to his career on an afternoon that is the pride of Illinois racing.

Mystery Giver, the standout turf horse who was trying to give the Illinois breeding program its first win in the Arlington Million on Saturday, was one of 13 starters in the Million, the state's premier race. But somewhere during the Million's 1 1/4 miles, something went awry with Mystery Giver, and now his career may be finished.

"I felt something when he switched leads," jockey Rene Douglas said soon after dismounting. "He wasn't the same."

And for good reason. Mystery Giver's injury has been preliminarily diagnosed as a torn suspensory ligament in his right hind leg, an injury that quite possibly will end his career.

Trainer Chris Block said Tuesday that Mystery Giver will undergo an ultrasound examination Friday or Saturday.

"We can't get a very good read until then," said Block, who trains Mystery Giver for Team Block, the family stable that includes himself and his parents, David and Patricia. "The horse came back with a lot of filling and swelling. I'm sure that it's very, very iffy that he'll ever get to run again."

Mystery Giver is one of the most productive Illinois-breds of all time, having accumulated $1,165,900 in career earnings from 33 starts, all but one on turf. A 6-year-old Dynaformer gelding out of Ioya, his brightest moments have come at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, where earlier this year he won the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Handicap.

Block said Mystery Giver will be given "the proper amount of time and rest" after being evaluated.

"Because he's a gelding, we may try to bring him back to the races if I can get him back to 100 percent," Block said. "But usually with this type of injury, horses don't come back all the way. If he doesn't, obviously we won't push him, because he's been so good to us."

Tizdubai back in States for Arlington BC Oaks

After winning the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes last August at Del Mar to remain unbeaten in two starts, the sky seemed the limit for Tizdubai, a California-bred full sister to two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow.

But the Sorrento marked the last time American racing fans got to see Tizdubai, who was assimilated into the European string of Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor and did not race again until June. Finally, after two failed tries on the grass in England, Tizdubai has returned to her native land, where on Saturday she is expected to be a major contender in the Grade 3 Arlington Breeders' Cup Oaks.

Tizdubai, a 3-year-old filly by Cee's Tizzy out of Cee's Song, has been stabled in recent days in Barn 21 at Arlington, where the Godolphin horses, including Beverly D. winner Crimson Palace, took up residence alongside a sizable string trained by Steve Hobby. Arlington clockers said Tizdubai was out for another strong morning on Tuesday and has been training well toward the $150,000 Arlington Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race that will mark the filly's return to dirt.

Racing officials are expecting a medium to large field of fillies for the Oaks, which drew 22 nominations. Other possible starters include Barnsy, Flashy, Miss Moses, Platinum Ballet, and Teenage Temper.

The Arlington Oaks is the lone stakes here this weekend. Next weekend's stakes is the $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint, a six-furlong race that is expected to get Champali, one of the hottest sprinters in the country.