03/31/2008 11:00PM

Georgie Boy out, Gayego may be in

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ARCADIA, Calif. - A pulled muscle in his left hind end does not end Georgie Boy's career, but the injury will prevent California's leading 3-year-old from running Saturday in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and it has knocked him off the Kentucky Derby trail.

The defection cements Colonel John as the Santa Anita Derby favorite, and gives the trainer of Gayego, Paulo Lobo, a cause to reconsider plans to run in the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby on April 12 at Oaklawn Park. Gayego finished second to Georgie Boy on March 15 in the Grade 2 San Felipe, but with his main rival sidelined, Gayego might run instead at Santa Anita.

"It's not going to be a surprise if [Gayego] is entered here," Lobo said Tuesday, and the reason was clear. Among 3-year-olds, he said, "Georgie Boy was the best in California. It's big" that he is out of the race.

Up to 11 starters are expected for the Santa Anita Derby. Track oddsmaker Jeff Tufts said his preliminary line has Grade 3 Sham Stakes winner Colonel John favored at 9-5, with Sham runner-up El Gato Malo at 2-1. Those prices could be higher if Gayego is entered.

If Lobo starts Gayego at Santa Anita, the colt will need a new rider. Mike Smith has ridden Gayego in all four of his starts, but Smith has commitments Saturday at Oaklawn Park. Lobo said he was still "leaning toward" the Arkansas Derby for Gayego because he believes the Oaklawn track "will fit him well, and I need to prove him on dirt."

As for Santa Anita Derby pacesetter Polonius, he needs to prove himself on a surface other than grass. Polonius won the $80,000 Pasadena Stakes at a mile on turf; his three starts were all on grass. Jon Court rode him last time, but when Court committed to ride Nikki'sgoldensteed on April 5 in the Illinois Derby, Victor Espinoza worked Polonius and rides him Saturday. Nikki'sgoldensteed subsequently was hurt.

The Santa Anita Derby will be drawn Wednesday, and is expected to include Colonel John, Corey Nakatani; El Gato Malo, David Flores; Polonius, Espinoza; On the Virg, no rider; Coast Guard, Joe Talamo; Yankee Bravo, Alex Solis; Signature Move, Michael Baze; Rosso Corsa, Richard Migliore; Shore Do, no rider; Meetingwithdestiny, Tyler Baze or Joel Rosario; and possibly Gayego.

Out one to six months, Walsh says

There is no set timetable for the return of Georgie Boy, who trainer Kathy Walsh said could be out of training for as little as one month, or as long as six months. Georgie Boy worked six furlongs Saturday in 1:12, and initially came out of the work fine. But the next day, Walsh said, "he took a couple funny steps."

Walsh said Georgie Boy was found to have a pulled muscle after given an ultrasound exam.

Walsh admits she might be erring on the side of caution by not going ahead with Georgie Boy toward the Kentucky Derby.

"Maybe I am being over-cautious, but it's just one of those judgment calls you make," Walsh said Tuesday. "I've seen so many horses destroyed on this trail. Sure, you're disappointed, but at the same time you are relieved you made the decision without that race clouding your judgment."

Georgie Boy is owned and was bred by George Schwary, who said, "I'd rather have the horse sound, and it's better to be safe now than sorry later. It's not the end of the line with him."

Walsh will keep Georgie Boy at Hollywood Park, and walk him for the next three weeks before he is reevaluated. She said the recovery period for a pulled muscle differs from horse to horse.

"He might be out six months, or he might be out 30 days," she said. "There's no way of telling. Usually, they come back pretty quick. It won't affect his performance level."

Georgie Boy, a gelding by Tribal Rule, has won four races and $496,806 from seven starts. And while he recovers, Schwary and Walsh can look forward to the careers of two younger siblings. Georgie Boy's dam, Ippodamia, has a yearling full sister to Georgie Boy, a weanling by Old Topper, and she was bred back to Street Sense.

Solis calls incident a 'misunderstanding'

A ruckus Sunday night at the The Derby restaurant in Arcadia was labeled a "misunderstanding" by jockey Alex Solis, who was at the restaurant for an after-the-races reception honoring George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award winner Richard Migliore. Words were exchanged between Solis and an unnamed person.

"It was a misunderstanding, and that was it," Solis said. "It was between racetrack people; it was like being in the jockeys' room. Nothing happened. It was an inch, and people made it a mile."

According to Lt. Paul Foley of the Arcadia Police Department, a call was placed to Arcadia police by an employee of The Derby restaurant at 10 p.m. Sunday "regarding a disruptive customer no longer at the location." Foley said the customer already had left the premises by the time officers arrived. Foley said the log does not name the customer in question; the time of the call coincides with the party.

Solis, who was scheduled to work Magnificience on Monday morning, did not work the filly. Trainer Bruce Headley said he was informed that Solis "was not feeling well." Solis also took off his two mounts Monday. He came to the track after the races for a television appearance on HRTV.

* Grade 2 Strub Stakes winner Monterey Jazz has resumed working and will run May 3 in the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap on turf before a possible ship to New York. Trainer Craig Dollase said the front-runner "may try the Met Mile . . . come and catch him." Monterey Jazz worked a half-mile in 47.20, breezing, on March 28.

* Thor's Echo has resumed training for Doug O'Neill. The 2006 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner has not raced since March 2007, when he finished nowhere in the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai. Thor's Echo worked three furlongs in 37.20 on March 26.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman