11/17/2011 5:32PM

Hawthorne: Giant Oak injured

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Tom Keyser
Giant Oak will miss his expected start in the Clark Handicap.

STICKNEY, Ill. - Multiple Grade 1 winner Giant Oak suffered a hind-end injury during a training mishap Thursday at Hawthorne Race Course. The specific nature of the injury has not yet been diagnosed, but Giant Oak certainly is out of the Nov. 26 Clark Handicap and therefore almost certainly finished racing in 2011.

Giant Oak's owners, Rudy and Virginia Tarra, plan to bring the 5-year-old horse back to race in 2012, but if it turns out he is badly hurt, Giant Oak, a well-bred son of Giant's Causeway, could go off to stud in the upcoming breeding season.

Giant Oak was hurt when a Dale Bennett-trained horse spooked from something on the clubhouse turn at Hawthorne, darting from the outside rail into the path of Giant Oak, who was galloping in the middle of the track.

"My boy saw him coming and tried to move him away, but the horse caught his hip and knocked him pretty hard," said trainer Chris Block.

Giant Oak was taken back to Block's barn in a horse ambulance with some sort of injury to his hip or pelvic area, Block said.

"He's not that lame on it, but he's off," said Block.

Since Giant Oak doesn't require emergency veterinary care, he will remain stall-bound at Hawthorne until early next week, when Block plans to ship Giant Oak to a Lexington, Ky.-area vet clinic.

"We'll get a firmer idea of what the future holds then," said Block.

Thursday's incident was particularly unlucky because Block trains Giant Oak late in the morning specifically to avoid heavy horse traffic.

"It wasn't till a quarter of 10 that he started doing anything," Block said. "There couldn't have been 10 horses out there."

Giant Oak, an Illinois-bred homebred, has won 5 of 31 starts and earned nearly $1.5 million.