11/04/2004 1:00AM

Injured Halfbridled retired

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Halfbridled, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2003, has been retired and sent to Kentucky, where she will be bred next year, trainer Richard Mandella said.

The decision was made earlier this week after Halfbridled was found to have a cannon bone injury, Mandella said. He described the injury as an enlargement that formed at the back of one of Halfbridled's cannon bones, between the cannon bone and the splint bone.

"We had to call it off," Mandella said of Halfbridled's career.

In some cases, a splint bone injury can be dealt with by removing the bone, but Mandella said that was not feasible in this case because of the location of the injury.

Owned and bred by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, Halfbridled won 4 of 6 starts and $959,400. Mandella said breeding plans have not been finalized.

The injury occurred after Halfbridled had resumed serious training after a six-month break for a stress fracture in a cannon bone.

She was unbeaten in four starts in 2003 but was winless in two starts this year.

won three stakes as a 2-year-old - the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante over seven furlongs and two races over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, the Grade 2 Oak Leaf Stakes and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Halfbridled made her first 2004 start in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks and suffered her first defeat, finishing 1 1/2 lengths behind Silent Sighs. A month later, in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland, Halfbridled rallied from eighth to finish second as the 2-5 favorite.

Halfbridled was entered for the Kentucky Oaks but suffered from stomach cramps on raceday and did not start. Her first cannon bone injury was diagnosed in early May.