02/24/2002 12:00AM

Mizzen Mast out of Big Cap

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Mizzen Mast, the winner of the Malibu Stakes and Strub Stakes in the last two months, will miss Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap due to a foot injury.

Trainer Bobby Frankel confirmed on Sunday that a quarter crack appeared over the weekend. Initially, Frankel hoped that the quarter crack could be patched and that Mizzen Mast could work this weekend, but he abandoned any hopes for a start on Sunday.

"He's going to have to miss the race," Frankel said.

The setback robs the Big Cap of the favorite. Mizzen Mast had won the Strub Stakes by a convincing four lengths on Feb. 2 and the Malibu Stakes by 2 1-2 lengths on Dec. 26.

Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Mizzen Mast had developed into a surprise stakes winner on dirt following a career on turf that included stakes wins in France and at Hollywood Park.

The absence of Mizzen Mast is the second major withdrawal to hit the Big Cap in the last month. Two weeks ago, trainer Richard Mandella said that Redattore, the winner of the San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 3, had missed too much training due to a foot injury and would be pointed for the $6 million Dubai World Cup in the Middle East on March 23.

Without those two, the Big Cap has become a more open race. The probables include Cagney, Euchre, Fancy As, Freedom Crest, Futural, Giant Gentlemen, Irisheyesareflying, Kudos, Last Parade and Seinne.