06/04/2003 11:00PM

Grey Comet euthanized after injury


ELMONT, N.Y. - Grey Comet, who was in line to earn a $100,000 bonus in Sunday's $250,000 Cab Calloway Stakes at Belmont Park, was euthanized on Wednesday afternoon as a result of injuries suffered in a Tuesday workout at Aqueduct.

Grey Comet, a New York-bred 3-year-old with multiple stakes wins, had just completed a seven-furlong work in 1:28 when he stumbled badly while pulling up. The exercise rider dismounted and Grey Comet was walked back to his barn. Grey Comet's trainer, Gary Contessa, said X-rays revealed that the colt had shattered the third carpal bone in his right knee. He was sent for further evaluation to Dr. Scott Palmer's equine clinic in New Jersey, where it was determined that the fracture was inoperable.

"What we didn't realize was that the back of the third carpal was shattered too, and that is what provides stability to the knee," Contessa said. "It was broke in eight pieces front and back so there was no way you could put screws in there. This is a shame. He was one of my favorites."

Grey Comet, a son of Distinctive Pro, was bred by his owners, Peter and Marshall Winston of Star Track Farm.

Grey Comet was undefeated in three starts last year, including wins in the Damon Runyon and a division of the New York Stallion Series, the Great White Way. This year, Grey Comet won two more Aqueduct stakes, the Count Fleet and another division of the New York Stallion Series, the Times Square. Grey Comet was the favorite to sweep the Stallion Series, which carried a $100,000 owner's bonus if he won the Cab Calloway.

Grey Comet's record was 5-2-1 in eight starts, and he had career earnings of $355,455.

Contessa was dealt blow a couple of weeks ago when Golden Damsel, another stakes-winning New York-bred he trains, suffered a knee fracture, which will sideline her for three to six months. Golden Damsel won the restricted Bouwerie Stakes by 9 3/4 lengths in her last start on May 18 and would have been among the favorites in Sunday's $250,000 Statue of Liberty Stakes.