05/11/2006 12:00AM

Lawyer Ron out of Preakness

Lawyer Ron, here at Churchill with rider Betsy Crouch up, will undergo surgery to have a small bone chip removed from his right hind ankle.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In, out, in. And now, finally, Lawyer Ron is out.

Trainer Bob Holthus said Thursday at Churchill Downs that Lawyer Ron will undergo surgery Friday morning to have a small bone chip removed from his right hind ankle and therefore will have to pass the on May 20 at Pimlico.

Holthus said the chip is so minor that "if he was a cheap horse you wouldn't have thought anything of it." He said the colt will be out of training for 30 to 40 days and would be pointed to a late-summer campaign.

"I really hate to miss the Preakness because I really thought he had some kind of chance to be 1-2-3," said Holthus. "But we've had a pretty good run, I suppose."

The surgery will be performed at the Rood and Riddle equine clinic in Lexington, with the colt scheduled to return to his Churchill stall in the evening.

The announcement of the surgery ends a period of several days during which Holthus and several veterinarians, including those hired by the colt's new ownership entity, Stonewall Stallions, kept going back and forth on whether or not to run the horse in the Preakness.

Lawyer Ron finished 12th of 20 as the 10-1 fourth choice in the 132nd Kentucky Derby last Saturday at Churchill.