Shoemaker is hurt by injury to Diazo

March 04, 1994|By N.Y. Times News Service

HALLANDALE, Fla. -- Bill Shoemaker doesn't need any reminders of the highs and lows of life in racing. But he got one this week, anyway. His star 4-year-old colt Diazo cracked a bone in his left foreleg during a workout at Santa Anita and will be out of action for six months.

Diazo, who is owned by Allen Paulson, ran fifth in the Kentucky Derby last year and first in the Pegasus at the Meadowlands.

He has won six of his 13 starts, and he was the probable favorite in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap, the winter's richest race, which will be run tomorrow. He was coming back from a workout last Sunday with Laffit Pincay Jr. riding when his career took a turn.

Shoemaker, the Hall of Fame jockey who was severely injured in an auto accident three years ago and now trains horses from a wheelchair, reported from California: "He worked well. But when Laffit turned him around, he felt him flinch a little. There was some heat there, and we X-rayed him."

The X-ray showed a lateral crack in the left front cannon bone. A metal screw was inserted during surgery Monday, and Showmaker said later that the break was clean and Diazo should resume racing in six months.

* FOCUS ON 3-YEAR-OLDS: This will be a major weekend at Santa Anita, with the 3-year-old candidates for the Kentucky Derby taking the stage after the senior horses leave it. The Derby horses will appear Sunday in the one-mile San Rafael Stakes, and six of the ranking contenders in California should go to the post.

They will not include Brocco, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November, who later lost a split decision to Dehere in the voting for the Eclipse Award as the year's best juvenile.

Brocco then ran second to Valiant Nature in the Hollywood Futurity in December and hasn't raced in the three months since then because rainy weather and some tight muscles combined to slow his training.

Randy Winick, his trainer, reported from California that the colt was "85 percent fit" for the San Rafael. But they will not rush him, and will aim instead for the San Felipe Stakes two weeks later.

Meanwhile, the field for Sunday's test will include Fly'n J. Bryan, who has raced twice and won twice; Ron McAnally's Fumo di Londra (yes, London Fog); Wayne Lukas' Tabasco Cat, who ran third in the Breeders' Cup and first in the El Camino Real in January, and Flying Sensation, who got a lot of experience racing in the money five times in eight starts last year and who ran second in the El Camino Real.

* NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Julie Krone is home in New Jersey writing her memoirs, Chris Antley is spending the winter riding in California. But in their absence, two other New Yorkers are dueling for the jockey championship at Gulfstream Park as the season enters its final two weeks.

Jerry Bailey went into March with 58 victories in 223 mounts, Mike Smith with 54 victories in 278 rides.

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