06/23/2011 11:33AM

Emerald Downs: Couldabenthewhisky to miss Pepsi Cola

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AUBURN, Wash. – Couldabenthewhisky, the leader of the 3-year-old division at Emerald Downs before a sluggish performance in his last start, will miss Sunday’s Pepsi Cola Handicap because of injury.

Couldabenthewhisky apparently injured himself in his stall a few days after running eighth as the odds-on favorite in the Auburn Handicap on May 30. In his previous start, his first outing following a seven-month layoff, he dominated a well-regarded field in the Jim Coleman Province Stakes at Hastings.

Trainer Bonnie Jenne said Couldabenthewhisky’s injuries are minor. She expects him to make his next start in the 1 1/16-mile Seattle Slew Handicap on July 17, followed by the nine-furlong Emerald Derby on Aug. 14. Jenne said Couldabenthewhisky’s injury caught her by surprise.

“I don’t know what happened,” she said. “He came out of the race all right, but about four days later – I don’t know – he must have cast himself. He developed a little filling, and we decided against running him. He just wasn’t 100 percent. I don’t want to hurt him – I’m not going to run him when he’s not right.”

Couldabenthewhisky got overheated in the paddock before the Auburn, another new development for a horse who has won 5 of 8 starts and is a four-time stakes winner.

“He washed out really bad, and he never washes out,” Jenne said. “He basically tied up, that’s what happened. I told [jockey Gallyn Mitchell] in the paddock that he never gets hot, but he was so hot it was ugly.”

Jenne’s barn suffered a much bigger blow when Bogachiel, a rising force in the handicap division, suffered a career-ending sesamoid injury while training for a start in last Sunday’s Budweiser Handicap. Bogachiel finishes with three victories in 12 starts and $45,231 in earnings for owner Frank McDonald.

“It was getting to where you could rate him a little bit,” Jenne said. “He was just getting good. It’s one of those unfortunate things in racing. The good thing is, we were able to save the horse.”

◗ Jockey Ricky Frazier, who suffered severe head injuries when struck by a horse at Fresno last October, remains sidelined with no definitive return date. Frazier was the leading rider at Emerald in 2010, his fifth title in the past seven seasons. He’s eager to get back.

“The healing process is really slow,” he said this week. “They’re not letting me do anything that could cause an injury, but they’ve let me start working out so I can be fit and healthy. I can’t get on horses, can’t ride four wheelers, no water skiing, things like that. I’m real stir crazy. It’s killing me.”