07/30/2010 2:03PM

Oak Tree return more likely for Baze


DEL MAR, Calif. − Jockey Tyler Baze is scheduled to have cosmetic surgery this week to stabilize a fractured bone near his right eye, and he is aiming to return to riding at Santa Anita in late September at the latest, according to his agent, Vic Stauffer.

Stauffer said the procedure, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday, will be designed to aid healing by placing a piece of mesh near the fractured bone that will “stabilize the area under the eye.”

Baze, 27, suffered facial injuries July 24, when he was struck by the head of his mount as the horses were nearing the start before the fifth race. Baze’s mount, Night Justice, threw his head back and struck Baze, unseating him, and Baze was then stepped on.

Baze was hospitalized for one night after the accident. He met with Dr. Jeff Umansky on Thursday and was told he could return to riding within a month of this week’s surgery. The Southern California racing schedule, however, suggests Baze may aim for an Oak Tree comeback since a return in one month would give him little time to regain fitness before the end of the Del Mar meeting Sept. 8. Baze is unlikely to ride extensively at the Los Angeles County Fair meeting at Fairplex Park in September.

“The doctor said that after the surgery, depending on how it goes and how Tyler responds, we could be talking something between two to four weeks after the surgery date,” Stauffer said. “Let’s assume the surgery is Tuesday or Wednesday. Conceivably, but not likely, he could be ready to go in a couple of weeks. It’s more likely three or four weeks, which would be the end of Del Mar. What we’re acting on is being fit and ready for Oak Tree [ at Santa Anita].”

The Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting begins Sept. 29.

Stauffer said Baze is more comfortable than he was in the days following the incident.

“The swelling is down dramatically,” Stauffer said. “He still looks like he went 20 rounds with Mike Tyson, but the doctor was pleased with what he saw.”

Baze has won four races from 24 mounts at Del Mar this summer.

Promising filly Avid makes debut for Mandella

Avid, a 2-year-old filly who makes her career debut in Sunday’s first race, could be the next star juvenile for trainer Richard Mandella.

Avid is expected to be favored in a six-furlong maiden race that has drawn a field of six. Typical of his approach, Mandella stopped short of predicting a win Friday morning, but he did compliment Avid’s recent exercise.

“She’s trained pretty sharp to this point,” he said. “I thought of giving her another work, but we decided to run. She’s shown she has a lot of run.”

Owned by Ramona Bass, Avid worked five furlongs from the gate in 59.40 seconds at Del Mar on July 24, the fastest of 95 recorded works at the distance. By More Than Ready, Avid was purchased for $525,000 at the March Ocala Breeders’ Sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Avid is part of a field of three other first-time starters, including Bella Giornatta, who at times has worked quickly in recent weeks for trainer Mike Puype. Bella Giornatta is by Action This Day, who won the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for Mandella.

Tanda has bone chips removed from ankle

Tanda, the winner of two Grade 3 races earlier this year, underwent surgery to have a bone chip removed from an ankle earlier this summer and will be away from racing until the winter, trainer Dan Hendricks said.

The injury was diagnosed after Tanda finished third in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park in June. Earlier this year, she won the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes and Grade 3 Santa Paula Stakes, both sprints for 3-year-old fillies, in Southern California.

“She’ll be out for a few months before she starts back,” Hendricks said. “It was after she ran at Belmont that we noticed it.”

Hendricks said Tanda will be pointed to races such as the La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs at Santa Anita in December, the first leg of the three-race La Canada Series for 4-year-old fillies of 2011.