08/09/2001 11:00PM

Point Given jogs, but next start unknown


DEL MAR, Calif. - Although trainer Bob Baffert is still not sure where Point Given will run next, he did get the colt back to the track on Friday morning at Del Mar for his first day of training since his victory in last Sunday's Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park

Point Given merely jogged, still wearing a bar shoe to protect his left rear hoof. The inside quarter of that foot appeared raw when Point Given returned for his post-exercise bath, but Baffert said the condition of the foot is not a factor in whether Point Given returns to the East Coast later this month for the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

"The foot is very raw," Baffert confirmed later. "I was looking at his training chart after the Haskell. In the 60 days between races, he walked for 25 of them. It goes to show you, we were all under some heavy-duty pressure there.

"The whole quarter came off after the Belmont. He had an abscess that must have been in there a while. If it had blown out the day before the Belmont, I wouldn't have been able to run him. We got lucky here. We're not out of the woods yet with the foot, but it is healing.

"The Travers is not completely out yet," Baffert added. "The foot is not the issue. The issue is whether we want to ship him back there, into the heat, and run on a deep, sandy racetrack."

Baffert said Point Given brightened when he got off the plane on Tuesday after returning from the sweltering East Coast. "Point Given and I, we're Southern Californians," Baffert said.

Officer scares them away

The presence of the speedy, unbeaten Officer is expected to keep to a minimum the field for Wednesday's $150,000 Best Pal Stakes for 2-year-olds. Officer worked a strong five furlongs on Friday morning in 59.60 seconds for Baffert.

"He's awesome," Baffert said later of Officer, who has breezed to two easy victories. Baffert's girlfriend, Jill Moss, is celebrating her birthday on Wednesday. "I couldn't think of anything to give her, so I'll take her to see Officer run," Baffert said. "I'm hoping he wins, so I can give her the flowers."

Among those expected to face Officer are Essence of Dubai, Metatron, and Werblin. Essence of Dubai worked a half-mile in 49.20 seconds on Friday for trainer Eoin Harty. Metatron was second in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship to Came Home, who is bypassing this race to await the Grade 2 $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on closing day, Sept. 5.

Beaumes de Venise wins allowance off layoff

Beaumes de Venise surprised trainer Craig Dollase when he zipped six furlongs in 1:08.93 to win an allowance race by three lengths on Thursday. Dollase had cautioned that Beaumes de Venise would need a start after a 14-month layoff, but the trainer could not have been more delighted to be wrong.

"I thought he'd need a race," Dollase said. "So much for needing a race." Owned by a partnership, Beaumes de Venise has won 5 of 7 starts, but has yet to win a stakes. He was acquired by the partnership in late 1999 after winning a maiden race and an allowance race at Prairie Meadows.

Beaumes de Venise wore blinkers for the first time on Thursday. Ridden by Garrett Gomez, the 5-year-old Beaumes de Venise took the lead after a quarter-mile and was not threatened, finishing clear of Capo di Capo.

Dollase mentioned the restricted $70,000 Pirate's Bounty Stakes over six furlongs on Sept. 1 as a possible goal.

"He had a suspensory injury, a slight tear," Dollase said. "He needed an ample amount of time. He's always had minor problems. We've had to pick our spots."

Unusual Heat, unusual record

Freshman sire Unusual Heat has a perfect record from his first two starters.

On Aug. 3, Frankie Eyelashes, Unusual Heat's first starter, won a $47,000 maiden race for California-bred fillies over 5 1/2 furlongs. On Thursday, Calista's Star ($13) won her debut in a $40,000 claiming race for California-bred maiden fillies over 5 1/2 furlongs, edging Octoberispecial by a nose.

There are 13 other 2-year-olds in the first crop, some of which are trained by Barry Abrams. Abrams claimed Unusual Heat in the summer of 1996 and campaigned him briefly before he was retired because of a tendon injury.

Unusual Heat, who is by Nureyev, stands at Old English Rancho for $2,000.

* Redattore, the winner of the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap here on July 28, will make his next start in the Arlington Million over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Arlington Park next Saturday. Alex Solis will ride. "I never thought of him over 1 1/4 miles, but he can do it now," Mandella said.

* Mirco Demuro, the top Italian jockey who rode two winners at this meeting, may return to California during the winter, according to agent Brian Beach. DeMuro rode a winner on Wednesday and left Thursday night for England where he rode in the Shergar Cup at Ascot. He remains under contract with an Italian stable through the end of the year, Beach said. "He wants to come back and stay," Beach said.

* Daily Racing Form's Brad Free and Lauren Stich are among those who will speak at a handicapping seminar Sunday at Del Mar. Other speakers include television analyst Caton Bredar and Judy Wagner, the winner of the 2001 NTRA/DRF National Handicapping Contest. Debra Giglio is the moderator. The seminar begins at noon in the Joe Burnham Lounge on the fourth floor of the grandstand.

* A rosary and funeral service for Gary Burke, the chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California who died of an apparent heart attack on Tuesday, will be held on Sunday and Monday. The rosary is 7:30 p.m. at St. Dorothy's Catholic Church, 241 S. Valley Center Ave., Glendora, Calif. The funeral will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday at St. Dorothy's. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Heart Association.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen