09/22/2010 5:58PM

Afleet Express injured, out for the year

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Barbara D. Livingston
Travers winner Afleet Express has a tear in a suspensory ligament.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Travers Stakes winner Afleet Express will be sidelined for the remainder of the year after suffering a slight tear of the suspensory ligament in his left foreleg, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Wednesday.

The injury is not career-threatening, and Jerkens said Afleet Express would be pointed to a 4-year-old campaign in 2011.

“He’s got a lesion in his upper suspensory in his left leg,” Jerkens said. “He needs 90 days for it to fill in. We’re looking to bring him back down in Florida and start training at the end of January.”

Afleet Express was pointing to next Saturday’s $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational at Belmont Park.

Jerkens said the injury was detected over the weekend.

“We probably got it in time before it did irreparable damage to it,” Jerkens said. “It seems like you could never have the whole package. He was so fantastic physically, in such good shape, then you have something happen with a leg. What he’s done in such a short time is just amazing.”

WATCHMAKER: Injury probably clinches championship for Lookin At Lucky

Afleet Express, a son of Afleet Alex owned by Gainesway Stable and Martin Cherry, won 4 of 7 starts, including a thrilling nose decision over Fly Down in the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 28. Prior to that, he was third in the Jim Dandy and won the Grade 3 Pegasus at Monmouth Park in June.

Jerkens said Afleet Express would stay with him at Belmont for at least 30 days before a decision is made on whether he will go to the farm to convalesce.

Afleet Express might have been second choice in the Gold Cup behind Blame, the Whitney Handicap winner who is likely to be favored.
Others pointing to the Gold Cup include Travers runner-up Fly Down, Suburban winner Haynesfield, Hold Me Back, Woodward runner-up Mythical Power, and 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup winner Rail Trip. Tranquil Manner, third in the Woodward, is possible as is 2009 Suburban winner Dry Martini.

On Wednesday, Rail Trip worked six furlongs in 1:13.25 over Aqueduct’s main track. Dry Martini, who has made his last two starts on turf, worked four furlongs in 50.73 seconds over Belmont’s main track.

Robin Smullen, assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg, said Dry Martini would have to work impressively next week to merit Gold Cup consideration.

Trainer Bob Baffert confirmed that John Velazquez would ride Mythical Power in the Gold Cup. Garrett Gomez, who rides Blame, rode Mythical Power in the Woodward.

An alternate list of invitees, which will include possible starters Redding Colliery and Etched, will be released Sunday.