03/26/2004 12:00AM

Eurosilver out of Blue Grass


Eurosilver, one of the top contenders for the May 1 Kentucky Derby, will have to miss the April 10 Blue Grass Stakes because of a neck infection of undetermined origin, trainer Nick Zito said at Keeneland Friday. The ailment could put Eurosilver's participation in the Kentucky Derby in jeopardy.

Zito told Keeneland officials that Eurosilver, owned by Buckram Oak Farm, was found to have the infection this week. Mohammed Moubarak, racing manager for Buckram Oak, said Friday from south Florida that Eurosilver had missed "a couple of days of training and will have to miss a few more."

Moubarak said the source of the infection had not been determined, although the most plausible explanation may be that the colt had been bitten by an insect or had a reaction to a medication injection.

The setback comes at a critical time for Eurosilver, an Unbridled's Song colt who likely would have been favored in the Grade 1 Blue Grass. Moubarak declined to speculate whether Eurosilver will be able to squeeze in a final Derby prep one week later in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.

"The well-being of the horse is the most important thing right now," said Moubarak.

Zito said in a Keeneland release that Eurosilver had spiked a temperature as a result of the infection. "This is a day-to-day thing," he said. "The Blue Grass is out of the question. You can't go into a Grade 1 race without your horse at his best."