06/29/2005 12:00AM

Eddington is retired due to foreleg injury

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Eddington, who earned $1.2 million, will stand at Claiborne Farm.

ELMONT, N.Y. - After winning the Grade 1 Pimlico Special in May, it appeared Eddington was poised to make a run at the leadership of the handicap division. Unfortunately for his connections, that run has come to a grinding halt.

Eddington, who would have been favored for Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park, has been retired from racing due to a soft tissue tear in his right foreleg, trainer Mark Hennig said Wednesday.

Hennig said the injury was detected shortly after Eddington worked five furlongs in 1:00.24 last Friday over Belmont Park's main track.

"We've been evaluating it and we just feel like it's in his best interest to go ahead and retire him,'' Hennig said. "Obviously, it's disappointing because he's really developed into a top horse this year.''

. Eddington retires with a record of 6-3-6 from 17 starts and career earnings of $1,216,760. Willmott Stables Inc. campaigned Eddington. In April, the Hancock family purchased a breeding interest in Eddington, who will stand at stud at the Hancocks' Claiborne Farm.

As a 3-year-old, Eddington won the Grade 3 Calder Derby and finished third in the Preakness, Travers, Wood Memorial, and Gotham, and fourth in the Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy.

"He's got a great record, 15 out of 17 [in the money] lifetime, and he's danced a lot of dances,'' Hennig said. "We look forward to his babies. He has enormous potential as a stallion being a son of Unbridled and a Grade 1 winner. It's always nice to send one home in one piece. Claiborne's got Secretariat's stall reserved for him.''

Eddington's defection figures to greatly impact the Suburban field, which is expected to include Funny Cide, Pollard's Vision, and Sir Shackleton. The connections of Offlee Wild are now considering running in the Suburban, pending a Thursday workout at Aqueduct. Offlee Wild finished sixth as the 5-2 favorite in the Pimlico Special, which was run over a sloppy track.

Rudy Rodriguez, who is helping assistant Juan Rodriguez while trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. serves a suspension, said Offlee Wild was originally being pointed to the Hollywood Gold Cup, but may stay home. Prior to the Pimlico Special debacle, Offlee won the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap by 8 1/2 lengths.

Record Buster, who is 3 for 3 for the same connections that brought us Ghostzapper, will be entered, trainer Bobby Frankel said. Record Buster, a son of Alphabet Soup, blew out three furlongs in 35.66 seconds on Wednesday. Evening Attire, Chowder's First, and Runaway Russy are also possible.