10/01/2001 11:00PM

T V Sports Director over case of 'thumps'


MIAMI - T V Sports Director has never run well on dirt, so when he stopped abruptly and finished last, 31 lengths behind archrival Built Up in the Unbridled Stakes on Aug. 19, the logical assumption was that the turf specialist did not handle the track.

But it was not the surface that caused T V Sports Director's poor performance that afternoon. It was a case of the "thumps."

Thumps is a condition created by an electrolyte imbalance that effects both the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, promoting both shallow breathing and an irregular heart beat. It is roughly the equivalent to heat prostration in a human.

"It was incredibly hot on the day of the Unbridled," said Phil Combest, assistant to his father, Reed Combest, who trains T V Sports Director for long- time client Ann Lagrosa. "When he got back to the barn he was exhausted and his heart was beating faster than normal. And when it does it makes a very audible thumping sound."

Fortunately the thumps is relatively easy to treat by replenishing a horse's electrolyte and calcium supply. T V Sports Director has completely recovered from the condition and, according to Phil Combest, is training "like dynamite" for a rematch with Built Up in Saturday's $50,000 Needles Stakes.

T V Sports Director and Built Up have split their four previous meetings. In their most recent encounter on grass, T V Sports Director won the Roman Brother Stakes by five lengths with Built Up a tiring fourth. It was the third consecutive turf win for T V Sports Director.

Ms. Brookski 'tearing down barn'

Meanwhile the Combests are also gearing up Ms. Brookski for the biggest race of her career, the $400,000 My Dear Girl Stakes, on Oct. 13. Ms. Brookski jumped to the top of her division with a victory in the Brave Raj Stakes.

"She's been tearing the barn down ever since her last race," said Phil Combest. "She's doing great. As good as she's ever been. If she just holds her form she's got to run well."

Mr. Livingston en route

Mr. Livingston, who equaled the one-mile turf course record (1:33.75) winning the Miami Mile Breeders' Cup on Labor Day, departed for Keeneland Tuesday for the Grade 2 Shadwell Mile Sunday. Trainer Bill Kaplan breezed Mr. Livingston five furlongs over the main course here in 1:02 Monday. "He's never been better," said Kaplan. "And the Shadwell suits him perfectly, being a two-turn mile."

Abel Castellano Jr. will ride Mr. Livingston in the Shadwell. He'll also ride Juggernaut a day earlier in the Breeders' Futurity. Juggernaut emerged as the top 2-year-old colt or gelding on the grounds, winning the Foolish Pleasure Stakes impressively.