04/29/2005 12:00AM

General John B out of Derby


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - General John B, the runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby, was withdrawn from consideration from the Kentucky Derby on Friday after being diagnosed with a small problem in his left knee, trainer Roger Stein said.

His defection enables Going Wild to get into the field and, provided there are no surprise late entries, gives owner B. Wayne Hughes the option of running either Don't Get Mad or Greeley's Galaxy in the race. The Derby field is limited to 20 runners and Greeley's Galaxy - who would have to be supplemented for $200,000 because he is not nominated to the Triple Crown - can only get in if the field is 20 or less.

Don't Get Mad was scheduled to run in Saturday's Derby Trial. Owner B. Wayne Hughes said Friday he would love to run both horses in the Derby, but if he has to choose, he would most likely run Greeley's Galaxy, winner of three consecutive races, including the Illinois Derby.

Stein said General John B, who is still in Southern California, developed filling in his left knee just outside the tendon. While Stein said the injury wasn't serious, he said it was enough to knock him out of the Derby.

"It's not a big deal, but on ultrasound you can definitely see it," Stein said. "The thing is this horse has not taken an unsound step in his life. I can't run him in good consciousness knowing he's got to run a mile and a quarter against the best horses in the country."

In other Derby news, trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed that Patrick Valenzuela will ride Lexington Stakes winner Coin Silver in the Kentucky Derby. Valenzuela won the 1989 Derby aboard Sunday Silence, but has not ridden the race since 1993.