07/04/2009 12:00AM

Musket Man done for the year


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Musket Man, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, is done for the year with a bone bruise.

The colt suffered the injury about two weeks ago as he was preparing for the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 2.

"It's nothing major," trainer Derek Ryan said on Saturday afternoon. "I don't have enough time to make the race. I jogged him this morning but he was just not 100 percent. You don't want to go into the Haskell only 80 percent."

With the Haskell the major objective on the calendar, the decision was made Saturday to rest the colt for the balance of the year and to bring him back this winter at Tampa Bay Downs.

"There were only two or three 3-year-old races left this year," Ryan said. "If I pushed him, I could run him but he wouldn't be running the way I want. The Breeders' Cup is on Polytrack and I'm not a big fan of that, so we wouldn't be going there anyway. We'll give him a freshening and start him back in the fall."

Ryan feels the break will pay off, following what has already been a demanding campaign.

"I think we'll have the best 4-year-old in the country next year," Ryan said. "I know he likes Churchill Downs and the Breeders' Cup is there next year."

Musket Man is 5-0-3 in eight starts with earnings of $893,600.

On the road to the Triple Crown, he won the Tampa Bay Derby and the Illinois Derby. He had troubled trips in the both the Derby and Preakness and Ryan is convinced Musket Man could have been second in both with cleaner journeys.

Ryan does have a fallback position for the Haskell in Bunker Hill, second last time out to Big Drama in the Red Legend Stakes at Charles Town. Bunker Hill is 2-for-3 at Monmouth, having won a maiden race and the off-the-turf Continental Mile last year.

"He's not the same caliber of Musket Man, but he's not a bad backup," Ryan said.