02/26/2007 12:00AM

Buffalo Man out, Stormello iffy

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainers Bill Currin and Cam Gambolati were both looking forward to running their 3-year-olds in Saturday's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Only Currin still has a chance to do so.

While Currin was still pursuing suitable flight arrangements for his Grade 1 winner Stormello on Monday, Gambolati revealed that his multiple stakes-winning Buffalo Man would miss the race and was off the Triple Crown trail altogether after sustaining a condylar fracture in his left foreleg during a Sunday workout.

The injury was detected Sunday morning after Buffalo Man worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 over Gulfstream's main track. Edgar Prado was aboard for the work and told Gambolati that the horse took a couple of "funny steps'' while pulling up. X-rays revealed the injury.

Gambolati said Buffalo Man was scheduled for an operation at a clinic in Ocala on Wednesday and said the earliest the horse could be back to the races is in the fall.

Buffalo Man, owned by University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, had won 5 of 7 races, including three consecutive stakes, two this year.

Meanwhile, Currin was still trying to make arrangements to ship Hollywood Futurity winner Stormello from Southern California to Florida for the Fountain of Youth. He has two potential flights for his horse on Wednesday, but as of late Monday afternoon, Stormello was not confirmed on either one. If he comes, Stormello would probably vie with Scat Daddy for co-second choice in the Fountain of Youth behind Holy Bull winner Nobiz Like Shobiz.

Others pointing to the Fountain of Youth are Swale Stakes winner Adore the Gold, Drums of Thunder, Johannesburg Star, Hal's My Hope, Delightful Kiss, and possibly Meritocracy.

Though Stormello could just as easily run in Saturday's Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita - where last year he won the Grade 2 Norfolk - Currin would prefer to take on division leader Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Fountain of Youth.

"I want to go where the best horses are, and I think the best horses are in your race,'' Currin said Monday.

Several horses put in their final Fountain of Youth workouts over the weekend. On Saturday, at Palm Beach Downs, Scat Daddy worked five furlongs in 1:01.20. Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Scat Daddy, told the racing office that he may also run Meritocracy, second in a first-level allowance race on Jan. 13, in the Fountain of Youth. Meritocracy worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 Sunday at Palm Meadows.

Drums of Thunder, runner-up in the Fountain of Youth, worked five furlongs in 1:03.60 Sunday at Calder.

Johannesburg Star, second in the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct last out, worked six furlongs in 1:12.20 at Gulfstream.

- additional reporting

by Mike Welsch