11/15/2005 1:00AM

Rock Hard Ten's career in air

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Benoit & Associates
Rock Hard Ten will undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his left ankle later this week at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The results of an arthroscopic procedure this week on Rock Hard Ten's left ankle will determine if he will race in 2006 or be retired to stud. A 4-year-old, Rock Hard Ten was expected to stay in training at age 5, but a precautionary nuclear scan revealed signs of potential trouble.

"We nuked him because we didn't want any surprises," said trainer Richard Mandella on Tuesday. "We found a little something in an ankle."

Rock Hard Ten has an old, calcified chip in his ankle that is not a concern, but the latest scan suggested the possibility of other physical issues. The extent of the problem will be determined when an arthroscopic procedure is performed later this week at Santa Anita. The day and time had not been scheduled as of Tuesday.

Mandella said results from the procedure would determine Rock Hard Ten's future. "You don't want to miss a year of breeding and say, 'Gee, I wish I would have know about this.' That's why we nuked him."

Owned by Ernie Moody and Madeleine Pickens, Rock Hard Ten has won 7 races and $1,870,380 from 11 starts, including Grade 1 wins in the 1 1/4-mile Santa Anita Handicap and seven-furlong Malibu Stakes.

Rock Hard Ten was off seven months after the Big Cap and prepped for the Breeders' Cup Classic by winning the Grade 2 Goodwood Handicap on Oct. 1 at Santa Anita. A bruised foot after the Goodwood did not set back his training, and Rock Hard Ten shipped to Belmont Park and was entered in the BC Classic. The day before the race, however, he bruised his other front foot and was scratched. Rock Hard Ten was sired by Kris S. and produced by Tersa, a daughter of Mr. Prospector.

Diplomat Lady flashes big potential

Diplomat Lady will not run Sunday in the seven-furlong Moccasin Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park, but an impressive weekend allowance win suggests she will be a force this winter at Santa Anita.

Diplomat Lady had been among the most widely hyped 2-year-olds of summer, but appeared to be a bust after a slow maiden win in which she earned a 62 Beyer Speed Figure and followed that with two dull efforts in graded stakes at Del Mar. Trainer Chris Paasch treated her for ulcers and a lung infection, and Saturday she whistled six furlongs in 1:09.36 under Tyler Baze and earned an 85 Beyer.

"That was the real filly," said Paasch. "Tyler said he could have drawn away if he let her."

Paasch said Diplomat Lady would freshen up and point for the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes, a seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-old fillies typically run in mid-January. Paasch nominated Del Mar Debutante runner-up Mystery Girl to the Moccasin, but she has been sidelined with a lung infection, will be out of training six to eight weeks, and return in the spring.

Brother Derek pointing to futurity

A week after returning from a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Brother Derek "was tearing down the barn," said trainer Dan Hendricks, adding that Brother Derek will aim for the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 17.

"He doesn't need a whole lot of training," Hendricks said. "He'll have three works, and we'll have a good, fresh 3-year-old with only five starts."

The prognosis was not as cheery for Hendricks's other California-bred 2-year-old stakes winner, Irish Bar. Irish Bar clipped heels and went down in an ugly spill at the eighth pole of the California Cup Juvenile on Nov. 6 at Santa Anita and is sidelined indefinitely. Hendricks declined to specify the nature of Irish Bar's injury, stating only that "he'll be turned out for quite a while."

Irish Bar previously won the Gateway to Glory Stakes at Fairplex Park.

Blackdoun retired at 4

Blackdoun worked six furlongs Monday at Santa Anita in 1:12.60, but trainer Julio Canani said Tuesday that Blackdoun, 4, has been retired from racing.

swept Del Mar's three-race series for 3-year-old grass horses in 2004, then tailed off and was unplaced in the Breeders' Cup Mile and Hollywood Derby. Blackdoun has not raced since the Hollywood Derby on Nov. 28, 2004.

Owned by Marsha Naify and Woodside Farms, Blackdoun was imported from France in the summer of 2004 and won 3 of 5 starts for Canani - the Oceanside, La Jolla Handicap, and Del Mar Derby. Overall, Blackdoun won 6 of 16 starts and had earnings of $477,765.

Dubai possible for Super Frolic

Japan is out for Super Frolic, but Dubai may be in. Fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Super Frolic was considered for the Japan Cup Dirt later this month, but trainer Vladimir Cerin said, "It became too much of a time crunch." Instead, Super Frolic will have a prep race early in the Santa Anita winter meet and then aim for Dubai next spring. Super Frolic won the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup before the Breeders' Cup.

Cerin said he still plans to send Grade 1 winner Designed for Luck and Del Mar Derby winner Willow O Wisp to Hong Kong for races on Dec. 11.

Forster to winter in California

Trainer Grant Forster has decided to make Southern California his home this winter after spending time at Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park the past two years. Forster, the son of Pacific Northwest training kingpin David Forster, won the biggest race of his career in August, when No Giveaway captured the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs. No Giveaway is among 16 horses Forster has at Hollywood Park this meet.

"I was going to go to New Orleans this winter, then Oaklawn, but plans got drastically changed by the hurricane," Forster said. "It's also easier for Seattle owners to come here and see their horses run. We'll stay here, then go to Santa Anita. I've got five at Churchill Downs right now, too.

"Oaklawn's going to be a lot tougher this year. You've got guys like Tim Ritchey and John Servis, who had been there the last few years, and with Fair Grounds closed you'll probably get guys like Tom Amoss, Steve Asmussen, Dallas Stewart, and Neil Howard this year. It'll be like the early 1980's there."

Forster said that No Giveaway could run later this meet in the Grade 3, $100,000 Native Diver Handicap at 1 1/8 miles.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman