05/03/2013 3:17PM

Churchill Downs: Alternation limited to jogging due to inflammation

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Barbara D. Livingston
Alternation, a 5-year-old millionaire, will miss the May 17 Pimlico Special because of an inflamed tibia.

Alternation will not defend his title in the May 17 Pimlico Special, as his connections have had to lighten up on his training. Alternation has been diagnosed with inflammation in his stifle region following his eighth-place finish in last month’s Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap and is jogging at Churchill Downs.

“He went to the clinic, and we did a bone scan,” said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Alternation for Pin Oak Stable.

The scan revealed inflammation in a tibia bone, which is located in a horse’s hind end, between the stifle joint and hock. Von Hemel said Alternation’s X-rays were clean, and he was subsequently placed on a 40-day jogging regimen. Alternation will have another bone scan before his training is stepped up, Von Hemel said.

Alternation won last year’s Grade 3 Pimlico Special by a nose over Nehro, one start after capturing the Oaklawn Handicap over Ron the Greek. Prior to this year’s Oaklawn Handicap on April 13, Alternation had made one other start on the year, finishing fifth as the favorite in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap on March 9.

“It’s never good to have a problem,” Von Hemel said, “but at least we have an answer why he’s not performing up to his standard.”

Alternation is a 5-year-old who has won 9 of 18 starts and $1,054,227.

◗ A memorial service for the late trainers Lee Forrester and Sam Ishaq will be held at Louisiana Downs on Sunday. Both horsemen died this spring. They will be honored in the winner’s circle at 11 a.m. Central.