05/23/2006 11:00PM

Injured Magna Graduate to miss Stephen Foster


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Magna Graduate emerged from a Sunday workout at Churchill Downs with an injured hind ankle and will be sidelined for several months, trainer Todd Pletcher said Wednesday from Belmont Park.

Magna Graduate, winner of the Grade 2 Clark Handicap here last fall, had been pointing to the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap on June 17. The 4-year-old colt, an earner of more than $1.7 million, finished fourth in his most recent start, the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 25.

"He came back from his breeze a little off in his right hind," said Pletcher. "There's a small fracture in the ankle, but right now it looks like he won't be needing any surgery. He'll get 60 to 90 days of stall rest and we'll reevaluate him at that time."

Since Pletcher spent much of April and early May in Kentucky, his 36-horse string at Churchill has undergone quite a bit of turnover, with many of his best horses having returned to Belmont. Yet Pletcher still will have plenty of representation in upcoming Churchill stakes, including Ever Elusive in the Winning Colors on Saturday; Yes Yes Yes in the Aristides Breeders' Cup and Ready to Please in the Dogwood BC, both on June 3; and Oonagh Maccool and La Reason in the Fleur de Lis on the June 17 Foster undercard.

With so many top older horses at his disposal, Pletcher also has plenty of time to consider a replacement for Magna Graduate in the $750,000 Foster. Among his active top handicap horses are Bandini, Harlington, Master Command, and West Virginia.

Lawyer Ron okay after minor surgery

Lawyer Ron, the 3-year-old colt who underwent minor surgery less than a week after finishing 12th in the May 6 Kentucky Derby, already is being walked daily in the Bob Holthus barn. Lawyer Ron had a tiny chip removed from a hind ankle May 11.

"We started hand-walking him Friday," said Holthus. "Everything looks good with the ankle. We'll walk him for three weeks, then start riding him around the shed row and jogging him a little. Hopefully we'll have him ready to run in August, maybe September."

Holthus also said he will consider the June 3 Dogwood for the stable's newest acquisition, Miss Norman. "We're going to take a look at who else is showing up," he said.

Storm Treasure works on grass

Storm Treasure, the 11th-place Derby finisher, had his second work on turf Tuesday, breezing seven furlongs in 1:32.40 under exercise rider Dominic Terry. Storm Treasure will make his next start as one of the likely favorites in the Jefferson Cup on the June 17 Foster undercard.

"I think he really likes the grass," said Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen.

Storm Treasure, by Storm Boot, finished a distant second at 65-1 behind Sinister Minister in his final Derby prep, the Blue Grass Stakes.

"He jumps up and down on dirt so much," said Blasi. "In the Blue Grass, he was able to avoid getting hit too much with the dirt, but not in the Derby. With 20 horses, there wasn't any getting out of the way of it."

Toups winning at prices

One of the stronger showings during the first two weeks of the post-Derby segment of the Churchill spring meet has been by apprentice rider Randall Toups. Going into the Wednesday card, Toups had won with 8 of 65 mounts, including several that produced big mutuel payoffs.

Toups, a 17-year-old native of Erath, La., returned to action last month at Keeneland after missing about 10 weeks with a fractured vertebra in his lower back. Toups suffered that injury in a February spill at Aqueduct.

Former jockey Julio Espinoza is the agent for Toups.

"He reminds me a whole lot of a young Kent Desormeaux," said Espinoza, referring to the Hall of Fame jockey who also hails from Louisiana's bayou country.

Only Julien Leparoux, the leading rider in North America in wins this year, has more wins than Toups among apprentices at the Churchill meet. Leparoux led the Churchill standings going into Wednesday with 28 wins.

Ten likely to go in Winning Colors

Besides the $100,000 Winning Colors on Saturday, the other stakes to be run here this weekend is the $100,000 Louisville Handicap on Monday.

The six-furlong Winning Colors is expected to get a field of at least 10 fillies and mares, including Atlas Valley, Ballistic Babe, Beautiful Bets, Born to Dance, Ebony Breeze, Ever Elusive, Flying Falcon, Hot Storm, Malibu Mint, and Ten Carat Ruby.

The Louisville, for older turf horses going 1 3/8 miles, will be headed by the two-time defending champion, Silverfoot, along with Einstein, Pellegrino, and Quest Star.

The Sunday feature will be the $70,000 Top Corsage, an overnight handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Lost in the Fog due Wednesday

Lost in the Fog, the 2005 sprint champion who will make his next start in the Aristides, probably will arrive here Wednesday, three days before the race. Northern California-based trainer Greg Gilchrist said the colt likely will be sent to Kentucky via commercial cargo shipment.

"When I shipped him all around the country last year, I usually sent him the Tuesday before his races," Gilchrist said. "I don't think there's a Tuesday flight next week, so it'll be Wednesday, which is fine."

Lost in the Fog will be ridden by Russell Baze in the six-furlong Aristides.

* With racing scheduled at Churchill Downs Monday because of the Memorial Day holiday, there will be no racing here Wednesday, May 31.