06/25/2012 1:26PM

Black Caviar suffers muscle injuries, still plans fall campaign

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Black Caviar (left) holds off Moonlight Cloud to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Black Caviar’s narrow victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday at Royal Ascot came despite the mare racing with muscle injuries, it was discovered Sunday. The undefeated Australian mare, 22 for 22 in her career, has entered quarantine and will return home in coming weeks, but immediate post-race speculation about imminent retirement was premature, with Black Caviar’s connections now contemplating another campaign this fall, which is spring on Southern Hemisphere time.

Nuclear scans performed on Black Caviar following her narrow victory Saturday revealed muscular injuries in a few locations, but the most serious was a tear to her quadriceps. Veterinarians and trainer Peter Moody asserted that Black Caviar would have felt the injury during the running of the Diamond Jubilee, which she won by inches after jockey Luke Nolen eased up on the mare in the race’s late stages.

Black Caviar, a huge muscle-bound mare, has suffered muscle injuries in the past. The most prominent such incident occurred in September 2009, when she tore muscles breaking awkwardly from the starting gate in the Rory’s Jester Stakes. Until Saturday, the three-quarter-length victory Black Caviar had recorded in the Royal Jester had been the smallest margin of victory in her career.

While Black Caviar’s reputation took a hit in some quarters because of her performance Saturday, there is little doubt she ran far below her best form. Greg Carpenter, the official handicapper for Racing Victoria in Australia and a member of the World Thoroughbred Rankings panel, estimated Black Caviar ran 15 points below her rating of 130 in the Diamond Jubilee.

Moody seemed pleased to get a specific diagnosis of Black Caviar’s injury and suggested there should be little problem getting her back into racing condition after a period of rest. Moody mentioned the Patinack Farm Classic in November, a race Black Caviar has won the last two seasons, as a possible goal. A December trip to the prestigious Hong Kong International Sprint also is being contemplated.

Frankel to get another start at mile

Frankel, the shining star of the Royal Ascot meeting with his freakish 11-length victory in the Queen Anne Stakes, is likely to have yet another race over one mile before stretching out to 1 1/4 miles later this year.

The one-mile Sussex Stakes on Aug. 1 at Goodwood is the likely next start for Frankel, now 11 for 11 in his career. Frankel, who has never raced beyond one mile, could then be stretched to 10 furlongs Aug. 22 in the Juddmonte International at York, his connections announced late last week.