05/09/2005 11:00PM

Bellamy Road injured

Bellamy Road, seventh as the favorite in the Derby, could make a return in the summer.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For Nick Zito, injury has been piled onto insult. Already struggling with the disappointment of seeing all five of his starters fare poorly Saturday in the Kentucky Derby, Zito discovered Tuesday morning that the most heralded of that quintet, Bellamy Road, has a popped splint bone that will force the colt to miss the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Zito came upon Bellamy Road's relatively minor injury as training wound down at Churchill Downs. Starting around dawn, Bellamy Road had been lightly jogged around the shed row and cooled out fine, but several hours later, Zito noticed that something was amiss. Subsequent X-rays revealed a BB-sized bump on the inside of the left front cannon bone.

"The bad news is he popped a splint," said Zito. "The good news is the X-rays are clean otherwise. There's no fracture, so he'll be back for the big races this summer."

A popped splint, technically known as exostosis, is the result of a slight hemorrhaging around the small splint bone, which is attached to the cannon bone. If neglected, the injury can grow, calcify, and become more painful for the horse. One standard remedy, and the one Zito has chosen for Bellamy Road, is for the affected area to be freeze-fired with liquid nitrogen, so as to arrest its progression. Healing time is relatively brief, in this case about 30 days, and Zito said he is optimistic that Bellamy Road could be back in time for major races such as the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in late August.

The splint injury may help to explain why Bellamy Road finished seventh as the 5-2 favorite in the Derby, which was won by Giacomo, a 50-1 shot.

Even with the setback, Zito still has three horses who might run in the May 21 Preakness at Pimlico: High Fly, Noble Causeway, and Sun King. After how those colts performed in the Derby, though - they ran 10th, 14th, and 15th - Zito is trying his best to put on a happy face.

"It's like your preachers around here say: there's always tomorrow," he said. "Is this disappointing? It's devastating. But we're going to fight through it. I always say, disappointment is inevitable when you have the kind of expectations we had. We had five horses - somebody told me the odds against that were a trillion to one - and we didn't get anything. Of course we're disappointed."

Zito said he is inclined to run one or two of his three remaining contenders in the Preakness and that his final decision will be based on how they train in the next few days. All three went back to the track early Tuesday but did nothing more strenuous than lightly jog.

"Whichever ones I decide on, they'll fly to Baltimore the Wednesday morning before the race," he said. "I definitely want to train them here."

While those three colts stay behind, Bellamy Road and the 30 or so other Zito horses who have been in Kentucky the last several weeks will be shipped to Belmont Park this weekend. Bellamy Road will not have to be turned out.

Zito already has ruled out his fifth Derby starter, Andromeda's Hero, for the Preakness, saying he will point to the Belmont. Andromeda's Hero was eighth in the Derby.

Greeley's Galaxy in, Don't Get Mad out

From the camp of owner B. Wayne Hughes, Greeley's Galaxy is definitely in the Preakness, and Don't Get Mad is definitely out.

Trainer Ron Ellis said Tuesday that Don't Get Mad, a late-running fourth in the Derby, will be pointed to the Belmont. Ellis said Hughes and he had considered flying Don't Get Mad to California on a Wednesday charter but decided instead to keep the colt at Churchill with Ellis's brother-in-law, trainer Paul McGee, at least for now.

Greeley's Galaxy, 11th in the Derby, will resume training at Churchill, where Al Stall Jr. has been deputizing for California-based Warren Stute. Greeley's Galaxy and at least one other Preakness probable, Wilko, are also booked on the Wednesday, May 18 flight.

Preakness field likely 10 to 12

With those alterations to the prospective field, at least eight 3-year-olds are considered definite for the 130th Preakness. They are Afleet Alex, Closing Argument, Giacomo, Greeley's Galaxy, Hal's Image, Malibu Moonshine, Scrappy T, and Wilko.

Six more are listed as possible, bringing the field to its maximum of 14, but only two to four of those appear likely to start, meaning the field should number 10 to 12. The six possibles are High Limit, the last-place finisher in the Derby; the Zito trio; and the D. Wayne Lukas duo of Going Wild and A.P. Arrow. Lukas said Tuesday he will run just one of his two.

Giacomo takes a light stroll

Giacomo had another easy morning when walking around the Barn 45 shed row early Tuesday for about 40 minutes, according to assistant trainer Francisco Leal. Trainer John Shirreffs was scheduled to be on a red-eye flight from California and return to Churchill in time to supervise the Derby winner's first time back to the track Wednesday morning.

Greater Good out with chip in knee

Greater Good, never a factor when finishing 13th in the Derby under John McKee, came out of the race with a tiny chip in his left knee, said trainer Bob Holthus. Surgery will be performed Friday by Dr. Larry Bramlage at the Rood and Riddle equine clinic in Lexington.

"John said he knew right where the horse did it - at the eighth pole," said Holthus. "He said he switched leads, then jumped right back."

Holthus said Greater Good will be out of training for about 60 days.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman

Preakness contenders

Horses pointing for the 130th Preakness at Pimlico on May 21. The field will be limited to 14.

Afleet AlexT. RitcheyJ. Rose3rd, Ky. Derby
Closing ArgumentK. McLaughlinC. Velasquez2nd, Ky. Derby
GiacomoJ. ShirreffsM. Smith1st, Ky. Derby
Greeley's GalaxyW. Stuteundecided11th, Ky. Derby
Hal's ImageB. RoseC. Olivero1st, Unbridled
Malibu MoonshineK. LeatherburyS. Hamilton1st, Tesio
Scrappy TR. Bailesundecided1st, Withers
WilkoC. DollaseC. Nakatani6th, Ky. Derby
Possible entrants
A.P. ArrowD.W. Lukasundecided9th, SA Derby
Going WildD.W. LukasJ. Valdivia18th, Ky. Derby
High FlyN. ZitoJ. Bailey10th, Ky. Derby
High LimitR. FrankelR. Dominguez20th, Ky. Derby
Noble CausewayN. ZitoG. Stevens14th, Ky. Derby
Sun KingN. ZitoE. Prado15th, Ky. Derby