01/27/2010 1:00AM

Injury ends It's a Bird's career


For the second time in less than a week, a graded stakes winner broke down while working at a south Florida racetrack. Last Friday, The Mailet, winner of the Grade 3 Miesque at Hollywood Park in her 2-year-old finale, had to be euthanized after breaking down a quarter-mile into a work at Gulfstream Park. On Monday, the multiple graded stakes winner It's a Bird fractured a sesamoid shortly after beginning a workout at Calder.

"He knocked off a piece of the sesamoid, but he'll be okay," said Marty Wolfson, who trains It's a Bird for Edmund A. Gann. "He'll be retired and hopefully we'll be able to find a farm he can stand stud at this season."

Wolfson said he was not blaming the newly renovated Calder surface for causing It's a Bird's career-ending injury, although he said the track has been too deep and slow since re-opening on Monday.

"The track is ridiculous," said Wolfson. "It's so deep. Horses are just laboring out there. I was hoping to run You and I Forever in the Donn next week, but he might not make it now because of the track."

The Grade 1 Donn is scheduled to be run at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 6.

Even in retirement, It's a Bird remains embroiled in controversy. A son of Birdonthewire, It's a Bird won the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap by six lengths in April but was disqualified from the purse after testing positive for trace levels of naproxen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory sold to humans under the brand name Aleve. The decision remains under appeal to the Arkansas judicial system.

Wolfson also said he was pleased with Thank U Philippe's performance in last Saturday's Grade 3 Holy Bull. Thank U Philippe finished fourth after contesting a torrid pace from the deeper going along the rail under jockey Eddie Castro in the one-mile Holy Bull.

"Eddie rode a horrible race," said Wolfson. "I couldn't believe he'd send him like he did, especially up along the dead rail. I thought the horse turned in a great effort considering what he was up against."

Wolfson said he would likely pass the 1 1/8-mile Fountain of Youth here on Feb. 20 with Thank U Philippe.

"He's not a Kentucky Derby horse," said Wolfson. "I don't think he'll get that far."

Wolfson has four horses entered in Saturday's Sunshine Million races, three at Gulfstream and one at Santa Anita.

Jessica Is Back will take on her arch-rival Sweet Repent and six others in the Distaff. He also has both Pickapocket and Jet Propulsion entered in the Turf in a field headed by defending champion Soldier's Dancer.

The Sprint attracted a field of just seven horses, topped by 2009 Sunshine Million winner This Ones for Phil and Pashito the Che.

Mambo Meister earns a bullet

Mambo Meister, who is one of 18 nominees to next Saturday's Donn, zipped five furlongs in 58.60 seconds over a lightning-fast track here Wednesday. The work was the fastest of 24 recorded at the distance on that morning's tab.

Trainer Phil Gleaves says he remains undecided whether to run Mambo Meister in the Donn or the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf the same afternoon.

Ward staying home

Trainer Wesley Ward said he will not be making the trip to Australia to watch Cannonball compete in Saturday's $450,000 Lightning Stakes on the turf at Flemington as originally planned.

"I was all excited to go but I have a nice 3-year-old, Pleasant Prince, who I think really has a good chance of making it to the Florida Derby and I don't want to get too far from him at the moment," he said.

Ward said that Pleasant Prince, beaten a half-length by Ice Box in a nine-furlong allowance race here last week, would make his next start in the Fountain of Youth.

Pleasant Prince is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey.