05/02/2008 12:00AM

Giant Gizmo wins Alysheba; Chelokee injured


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Giant Gizmo splashed to a 3 3/ 4-length victory Friday in the Grade 3, $166,050 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs, but the race was marred by the injury suffered by Chelokee, who broke his right front cannon bone in the stretch run.

It was an eerie, almost surreal occurance, because Chelokee, 4, is trained by Michael Matz. Matz trained Barbaro, who won the 2006 Kentucky Derby and then broke down two weeks later in the Preakness Stakes. There was Matz, in the mud and rain at Churchill Downs, watching helplessly as Chelokee was loaded onto a horse ambulance.

The injury was described by Dr. Larry Bramlage, the on-call veterinarian for the American Association of Equine Practioners, as being similar to that of Barbaro, who injured his right rear leg. Barbaro underwent surgery, but died eight months later from the complications of the hoof disease laminitis. Chelokee was transported immediately after the race to the Rood and Riddle equine clinic in Lexington, Ky., where Bramlage is a surgeon, for further evaluation.

Ramon Dominguez, who rode Chelokee, complained of back and shoulder soreness, and went to first-aid room as a precaution. He did not have any other mounts on Friday's card. He was scheduled to ride Monba in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Chelokee came into the race having won 5 of 9 starts, including, ironically, the Barbaro Stakes last year at Pimlico.

Giant Gizmo ($12.60), ridden by Rafael Bejarano, had raced just once on dirt previously, a third-place finish in an allowance race at Belmont Park.

In the Alysheba, Giant Gizmo was fifth during the early going, began to rally in the middle of the track on the turn, surged to the front at mid-stretch, and drew clear.

Giant Gizmo has now won 5 times in 10 starts. Bobby Frankel has trained Giant Gizmo, 4, for his last 8 races. Frank Stronach bred and owns Giant Gizmo.

Giant Gizmo covered 1 1/16 miles on a track rated sloppy in 1:43.96.

Better Than Bonds, the early pacesetter, held on for second, a neck in front of 9-5 favorite Wanderin Boy in the field of seven.