03/12/2003 12:00AM

Surgery for Badge of Silver


NEW ORLEANS - Badge of Silver, badly beaten as the favorite Sunday in the Louisiana Derby, will undergo a routine surgical procedure this week to correct the physical condition that might have caused his defeat.

Badge of Silver's connections believe he displaced his soft palate, which disrupted his breathing, causing him to fade to sixth. Dr. Jay Addison will perform a myectomy, a relatively simple surgery that removes retraction muscles that pull on the larynx. The action of these muscles can cause the displacement of the palate, Addison said. The surgery will be done in Badge of Silver's stall and will take less than an hour, and the horse can resume training just days afterward.

Coming off the far turn on Sunday, Badge of Silver surged to the lead under little pressure, but just as he appeared to be leaving the eventual winner Peace Rules behind, he lost his momentum.

"He started to hang a little, and I thought, uh-oh," said trainer Ronny Werner. Jockey Robby Albarado "said he had a ton of horse, then all of a sudden he had no horse," Werner said.

That scenario is consistent with displacing a palate, and the myectomy should prevent it happening again.

"It helps stabilize the upper part of the airway," said Addison. "Just because he displaced this time doesn't mean he'll ever do it again. But at the level he's competing at, you don't want to take a chance. "

Werner said the Illinois Derby on April 5 at Hawthorne remains Badge of Silver's target. Badge of Silver will work at Fair Grounds in about two weeks before shipping to Churchill Downs, where Werner will stable this spring, and from there he will van to Hawthorne.

Plans for Lone Star Sky

Lone Star Sky, fourth Sunday in the Louisiana Derby, appears to have come out of the race in good physical condition, but plans for his next start are uncertain, trainer Tom Amoss said Wednesday.

"It's up in the air," said Amoss, who trains Lone Star Sky for owner Walter "Buddy" New. "I talked to Buddy this morning and we'll probably make a decision in the next week. The most likely spots would be the Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby."

Lone Star Sky started his season on a sour note with a seventh-place finish in the Lecomte Stakes, but he finished second in the Risen Star Stakes and then on Sunday rallied to lose by less than four lengths to Peace Rules.

"I don't know why he dropped quite so far back, and I think the track played to speed," Amoss said. "He hasn't demonstrated that he's Kentucky Derby material yet, but he gives you some hope."

Hours after Lone Star Sky's race, Cat Genius, also trained by Amoss, earned a start in a Kentucky Derby prep race when he won the $75,000 Sportsman's Paradise Stakes at Delta Downs by 4 1/2 lengths, earning a 96 Beyer Speed Figure. It was Cat Genius's first start since he injured himself leaving the starting gate and suffered his first loss in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last November.

"He was a lot more fit than I realized, and that was a pleasant surprise," Amoss said. "It also was surprising that he was extremely kind to rate on the lead."

Catalissa shows he's worthy

On Saturday night, Catalissa may have earned a start in a Kentucky Derby prep with a big win in the Texas Heritage Stakes at Sam Houston. The field was relatively undistinguished, but Catalissa was ridden out to a five-length win and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96.

Catalissa wore blinkers for the first time in the Texas Heritage, and trainer Mike Stidham said the equipment change has transformed Catalissa.

"It's made a tremendous difference," Stidham said. "He's been much more aggressive."

Stidham said Catalissa would be nominated to many different stakes races next month but that no decision had been made about where he would next start.

Political Risk finally finds a race

Political Risk finally gets to resume his racing career Friday, but not exactly the way his connections had hoped.

An impressive winner of his career debut in a sprint race here Jan. 24, Political Risk coughed the morning of Feb. 13 and was scratched from a two-turn allowance that afternoon. Trainer Neil Howard has entered Political Risk at least three times since in races that failed to attract sufficient entries, and lacking other options Howard even toyed with the idea of running him in the Louisiana Derby.

Political Risk will run in Friday's eighth race, which is another sprint. He is bred to be a route horse and looks like one, too, but rather than keep him on the shelf any longer, Howard will try one more one-turn race.

"Obviously it's not ideal, but I don't know what choice I had," said Howard. "We've been training, training, training, and at this point we ought to go ahead and run him."

Political Risk put in a fast workout on March 3 - five furlongs in 59.80 seconds - that suggests he can be a factor in Friday's race even if he prefers more distance.

"If he closes well and gets beat, it isn't the end of the world," Howard said. "If he wins and runs real good, we've tentatively penciled in the Lexington Stakes" on April 19 at Keeneland.

Political Risk has a formidable rival Friday, Battle Won, who won his six-furlong career debut here Feb. 7 for trainer Frank Brothers despite breaking 10th of 11.

Keep an eye on these three

Three training races here Wednesday each produced a horse to watch, two of them from the David Carroll barn. The Carroll-trained Coin Trick won the first race by five lengths despite never being asked to run, and ran perfectly straight through the stretch. In the third, Solid Silver Star, another Carroll horse, looked even better, coming from just off the pace for a five-length win, also while under no pressure from the rider. Coin Trick ran five furlongs in 1:02.60, Solid Silver Star in 1:01.80.

Western Envoy showed great ability in the second race, which he won by seven lengths under a hand ride. His time of 1:01.40 was the fastest of the day.

* This weekend's stakes feature sprinters, fillies in the Victoria Lass on Saturday and colts and geldings in the Pelleteri Breeders' Cup on Sunday. Cinful Bride, Fuse It, Lake Lady, Miss Lodi, and Stonington are probable for the Victoria Lass, with a couple other horses on the fence. Sunday's probables are Beau's Town, Bonapaw, Doctor Mike, Kazoo, and Mountain General.