10/02/2013 3:34PM

Breeders' Cup Classic: Cross Traffic sidelined by shin injury

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Barbara D. Livingston
Cross Traffic on Wednesday was removed from consideration for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Cross Traffic, who finished seventh of eight in the Jockey Club Gold Cup after a poor start on Saturday at Belmont Park, on Wednesday was removed from consideration for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita because of what was described as a minor shin injury in a press release from his owners, the GoldMark Farm of T. Paul Bulmahn.

Todd Quast, the general manager of GoldMark, said Cross Traffic would be brought to GoldMark’s Florida farm for evaluation, and “based on those findings make decisions regarding his future.”

Cross Traffic won the Whitney earlier this year, and was second in the Metropolitan Mile. The Jockey Club Gold Cup was his first attempt at the BC Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles.

Cross Traffic’s defection, coupled with Mike Smith’s decision on Tuesday to ride Game On Dude in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, resulted in John Velazquez inheriting the mount on Palace Malice for the Classic. Smith had been the regular rider on Palace Malice. They most recently finished second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Both Cross Traffic and Palace Malice are trained by Todd Pletcher.

Also Wednesday, Joe Talamo was named to ride Moreno in the Classic, replacing Jose Ortiz, according to Talamo’s agent, Scotty McClellan. Moreno has finished second in his last two starts, the Travers Stakes and Pennsylvania Derby, both times against another Classic contender Will Take Charge.

Palace Malice was fourth in the Travers after a rough trip, then rebounded with a solid effort in the Jockey Club Gold Cup

“Mike Smith predictably will reunite with Game On Dude, probable Classic favorite, and his mount in five previous graded stakes victories,” Cot Campbell, the president of Dogwood, said in a release. “We are sorry to lose him, as he has won the Belmont Stakes and the Jim Dandy, and was recently a good second on Palace Malice in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. But we are overjoyed to get another Hall of Fame rider in Johnny V. He’ll fit him like a glove.”

Campbell said the Classic would be the final start of 2013 for Palace Malice, but he was scheduled to race in 2014 following a winter vacation in Aiken, S.C., where Dogwood is based.

“We have heard from many breeders concerning his stallion career, but we are racing people and fully expect to race him next year,” Campbell said.

Game On Dude, the antepost favorite for the Classic, worked six furlongs in 1:12 on Tuesday at Santa Anita, his third work since his victory in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. He was purposely kept out of the Awesome Again Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita in order to come into the BC Classic fresh.

Smith, who has won five straight races on Game On Dude, missed the Pacific Classic owing to a conflict the same day with Royal Delta at Saratoga. Martin Garcia rode Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic as a replacement for the injured Joel Rosario.

In other Classic developments:

◗ Led by Haskell runner-up Power Broker, there are 15 3-year-olds entered in the Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby on Saturday at Indiana Downs, but no Classic contenders are expected to emerge from that 1 1/16-mile race.

– additional reporting by David Grening