Updated on 09/17/2011 9:57AM

Cal. breeding: Statebred 3-year-olds suddenly lack a leader


ARCADIA, Calif. - The list of top California-bred 3-year-old males has changed remarkably in the last week because of death and injury.

Icecoldbeeratreds, the California-bred champion 2-year-old male of 2002, was euthanized on Wednesday after suffering a shoulder injury while training at Santa Anita. Trained by Bob Baffert, Icecoldbeeratreds won the Del Mar Futurity last September and finished second in the Champagne Stakes.

The highly regarded Siberland is undergoing tests this weekend after showing signs of a hind end problem after a workout last week. It will prevent him from starting in the San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita next weekend. Earlier this month, Standard Setter was turned out with a bone chip in a knee. He won the Golden Gate Derby last month.

Without them, colts such as Crackup and Excessive Barb, the first two finishers in the California Cup Juvenile last November, and Excessivepleasure, the winner of the California Breeders Champion Stakes in December, can take a more prominent role in the division. All are racing in coming weeks.

Excessive Barb starts in Sunday's $100,000 Baldwin Stakes for 3-year-olds over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the Santa Anita hillside turf course. Crackup is being pointed to the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on March 9. Excessivepleasure is a candidate for the San Rafael Stakes.

Excessive Barb has not started since the California Cup Juvenile over 1 1/16 miles, but that has not been by design. Owned by Rubin Brown and trained by Craig Lewis, Excessive Barb missed the Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream Park in late January because of a bruised foot.

"We missed more than I like," Lewis said. "Because of the wet weather, I missed a work he could have used. He could be short but we're going downhill and hopefully he'll be fit enough."

Despite his 2-year-old success at 1 1/16 miles, Excessive Barb was not nominated for the Triple Crown at the first entry stage last month. Even though there are further entry stages available in coming weeks, Lewis said it is "doubtful" that Excessive Barb will be added to the list.

The goal is the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-old statebreds over 1 1/8 miles on Gold Rush Day at Hollywood Park on April 26.

Lewis expects Excessive Barb's future to be in longer races and thinks the colt could run better than he did in the California Cup Juvenile. "He came out of that with a shin bothering him," Lewis said. "Then we had the bruised foot, I decided it was best not to rush. It's a long 3-year-old year and there's a lot of money out there."

Lewis expected to have a strong list of California-bred runners this year, but his stable has had its share of setbacks. Hot Market, who finished third in the San Pasqual Handicap on Jan. 4, has been sidelined by a bone chip in a knee. He is expected back for a late summer or autumn campaign.

"I think he'll make it back," Lewis said. "He's so mentally tough. He came back from a more serious injury when he fractured a sesamoid as a 3-year-old."

Nicole's Pursuit, the winner of the California Cup Distance Handicap last November, has been turned out, following a dull fifth-place finish in the Pro or Con Handicap on Jan. 4.

There are two other 3-year-old California-breds that Lewis is anxious to start. Termination was claimed out of a maiden race for $50,000 on Feb. 12 and was nominated for the Baldwin Stakes.

The prospect who has yet to start is Space Invader, who is co-owned by Lewis and is by Larry the Legend, the winner of the 1995 Santa Anita Derby whom Lewis owned and trained. A colt, Space Invader was in training earlier this year, but has been sidelined with a minor injury.

"He had a shin flare up," Lewis said. "He looks like he could be a decent horse."