11/16/2009 12:00AM

Tyler Baze takes time off to heal

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Barbara D. Livingston
Blind Luck will need a new rider when she runs in the Hollywood Starlet because Tyler Baze is recuperating from surgery to repair a damaged left pinkie finger.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Jockey Tyler Baze will be sidelined until opening day of the Santa Anita winter meet, Dec. 26, as he recovers from surgery that was scheduled for Tuesday on his left pinkie finger. Consistently among the circuit's top five riders by wins, Baze broke his finger during a post-parade accident this past summer at Del Mar.

Baze, 27, finished second in the Del Mar standings, but admits the injury compromised his strength.

"I need to be able to whip left-handed," Baze said Sunday after riding his final race at Hollywood Park. "I can, but not like I should,"

Baze, whose left pinkie is twisted, said the finger would be re-broken during outpatient surgery, and screws would be inserted to speed the healing process.

"I knew I needed to get it done sometime, and now is the time to do it," he said.

Three choice mounts will become open while Baze recovers. He is the regular rider for Blind Luck, the 2-year-old filly expected to be among the favorites Dec. 20 in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet; Ever a Friend, the Grade 1 winner scheduled to run Nov. 27 in the Grade 1 Citation; and Battle of Hastings, a leading contender for the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on Nov. 29.

American Lion tops Prevue probables

The second season for 2-year-olds begins Saturday at Hollywood Park, where American Lion is expected to start favored in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue at seven furlongs. A son of Tiznow, American Lion already had a reputation when owner-breeder WinStar Farm sent him to trainer Eoin Harty at Keeneland after a runner-up finish in his debut at Arlington. Harty initially was puzzled by the fuss.

"They were high on him, and I worked him, and he didn't really impress me," Harty admitted. "One morning I said 'Let's put him in company and see what happens.' " According to Harty, the light switch went on. "He was a totally different horse" working in company.

By the time American Lion ran Oct. 18 at Keeneland, he was no secret. Hammered to 6-5 in a seven-furlong maiden race, he drew off by 6 3/4 lengths and earned a 93 Beyer, which will make him the high-figure horse in the Prevue.

Julien Leparoux is scheduled to fly in to ride American Lion in the Prevue, the prep for the Grade 1, 1 1/16-mile CashCall Futurity on Dec. 19.

"I don't think two turns will be a problem, he's a huge colt," Harty said. "I think he's by far the best 2-year-old I have."

American Lion's rivals in the Prevue are expected to include Indian Firewater, Heir Joe, Hurricane Ike, Pico Pico, and Seattle Ruler.

It Tiz sharpens speed for Starlet

Another 2-year-old by Tiznow will enter a weekend stakes with less flash, but after a blazing workout Sunday, the filly It Tiz will attract attention. She will shorten from two turns to seven furlongs Sunday in the $100,000 Moccasin Stakes, and trainer Mark Glatt was trying to put some speed into the filly in the workout.

Mission accomplished. It Tiz smoked five furlongs in 58.60 seconds, the fastest of 60 works at the distance.

"I wanted to get a fast work in into her, shortening her back up," Glatt said. "I didn't particularly want to shorten her back up, but she is doing extremely well and it gives me a month."

The objective for It Tiz is the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 20.

After winning her debut, It Tiz finished fourth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and Oak Leaf Stakes, and then scored an easy win Oct. 29 in a first-level allowance at one mile. Joel Rosario rode It Tiz to both victories, but he will jump ship in the Moccasin.

Rosario instead is expected to ride Bickersons, who wheels back 16 days after finishing 10th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Other probable Moccasin starters include Crisis of Spirit, Lt. Anne, and Miss Heather Lee.

Blind Luck pointing to Starlet

Blind Luck, winner of the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes prior to finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, worked a half-mile Monday at Hollywood in 48.00 and will make her next start in the Hollywood Starlet.

"We're leaning toward running her in the Starlet," trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. "It gives her a good long time between races."

Blind Luck, purchased privately after winning her debut in a $40,000 maiden claimer at Calder, has won 3 of 5 races and $465,900.

Hollendorfer is well-stocked with 2-year-old fillies heading into winter. While his well-regarded Holy Bull filly Softly Singing is not expected back until after the start of the year, Hollendorfer unleashed a potential monster on Sunday.

She's Funomenal, a 2-year-old first-time starter by Fusaichi Pegasus, scored an impressive debut in race 7. Hammered to 3-2 favoritism, she set the pace, was never asked to run, and won by 5 1/2 lengths while Rosario sat still. She's Funomenal ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.70 and earned an 84 Beyer Figure.

Two Zenyatta giveaways planned

Zenyatta remains in light training at Hollywood Park as she prepares for an afternoon appearance Nov. 29. Zenyatta is jogging and galloping daily on the Hollywood training track, and will parade between races on Hollywood Derby Day.

As part of the festivities, Hollywood will distribute a DVD titled "Zenyatta - A Living Legend" to patrons in attendance on Nov. 29, final day of the three-day Turf Festival. The DVD includes interviews and all 14 races by Zenyatta.

A second giveaway will be a Betfair/TVG poster that features Zenyatta with her lifetime past performances on the back. The complete Zenyatta team is expected to be on hand for the Zenyatta Day event - trainer John Shirreffs, jockey Mike Smith, owners Jerry and Ann Moss, exercise rider Steve Willard, hot walker Carmen Zamora, and stable manager Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs.

* Joel Rosario capped a big weekend Sunday by winning four races, including the Cat's Cradle Handicap. He also won the On Trust Handicap on Saturday, and leads Rafael Bejarano 7-5 in the jockey standings after three days. Trainer Doug O'Neill also named Rosario to ride Lava Man on Dec. 12 in the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap.