Entering Cup proves bad move for health 'Cat,' 'Aisle' are latest to be forced from card

November 05, 1997|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Before horses even began congregating at Hollywood Park for Saturday's seven Breeders' Cup races, injuries and illness had taken their toll.

A fever knocked Gentlemen, a leading contender for Horse of the Year, out of the $4 million Classic. Marlin and Influent, two of the country's top turf runners, suffered injuries and were lost to the $2 million Turf.

Then Twice the Vice, a favorite in the $1 million Distaff, fell to injury, as did Formal Gold, the possible favorite in the Classic. The undefeated Silver Maiden, 5-for-5, came down with a virus and dropped out of the $1 million Juvenile Fillies.

On Monday, trainer Bob Baffert withdrew Anet from the $1 million Mile because of an abscessed left hind foot. And trainer Allen Jerkens held Kelly Kip out of the $1 million Sprint because he didn't like the way he galloped at Belmont Park.

Yesterday, two more horses dropped out: Tale of the Cat and Down the Aisle.

John Forbes, trainer of Tale of the Cat, one of the favorites in the Sprint, said the 3-year-old colt perhaps pulled a muscle during a workout a week ago at the Meadowlands. He said that veterinarians couldn't pinpoint an injury, but that the horse was stiff during morning gallops.

"We can't see anything. We can't find anything," Forbes said. "But he's not right. He's too nice a horse, a great horse. We're not going to take any chances."

The loss of Tale of the Cat and Kelly Kip in the Sprint cleared starting spots for Exotic Wood and Bet on Sunshine, two 5-year-olds trained by brothers-in-law. The Californian Ron Ellis trains Exotic Wood, and Paul McGee, of Louisville, Ky., trains Bet on Sunshine. McGee's sister is married to Ellis.

Also yesterday, Bill Mott, trainer of Down the Aisle, a longshot in the Classic, said the 4-year-old colt sustained a fracture in the coffin bone of his left foreleg during yesterday's workout at Hollywood Park. The horse should recover and race again, Mott said.

Today, the focus will be on the Irish-bred Singspiel, the favorite in the Turf and some handicappers' choice for best bet on Breeders' Cup day. His English trainer, Michael Stoute, said he discovered a slight "pulse" in the horse's left front foot.

"We just gave him a trot this morning," Stoute said. "I would have given him a little canter."

Stoute is usually closemouthed, and sometimes testy, with reporters. Asked by a British journalist if a pulse was like "a throbbing feeling we get," Stoute replied: "I hope you get it sometime."

Veterinarian Rick Arthur, president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, said a "pulse" meant an increased blood supply. Although he did not examine Singspiel, he said that confirmed a minor inflammation.

But Stoute insisted: "He's absolutely fine."

NOTES: Awad arrived yesterday. Skip Away is due in today and Ops Smile is scheduled for a flight tomorrow. Post positions will be drawn today.

Pub Date: 11/05/97

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