03/01/2009 12:00AM

Midshipman injured, off Triple Crown trail

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Midshipman, last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and champion 2-year-old, has been injured and will miss the Triple Crown, according to a statement Sunday on the website of his owner, .

The statement said Midshipman suffered a minor soft tissue injury in his left foreleg during routine training at the Al Quoz exercise facility in Dubai. He was preparing to make his 3-year-old debut at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday in the Al Bastikiya, a listed stakes.

Godolphin said Midshipman will be taken out of training but could return to race in the second half of the year, and may still ship back to the United States in the spring. As a 2-year-old Midshipman raced in California for trainer Bob Baffert, finishing second in the Grade 1 Norfolk and winning the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity along with his BC Juvenile victory, which earned him the Eclipse Award for top juvenile male.

"It is a huge shame as he had been pleasing us enormously and was ready to make his reappearance next Thursday," Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said in the statement. "He is scheduled to return to America in early April, and hopefully he will be back on the track later in the season."

Along with Midshipman, a son of Unbridled's Song, Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Godolphin last year also bought the Eclipse runner-up, Vineyard Haven, who faded to finish fourth in his 3-year-old debut Feb. 12 at Nad Al Sheba in the UAE 2000 Guineas. The stable's main Triple Crown hopes may rest with Desert Party, the 2000 Guineas winner.