06/10/2002 12:00AM

Proud Citizen faces long rehabilitation


ELMONT, N.Y. - Proud Citizen, who came out of his fifth-place finish in Saturday's Belmont Stakes with a fractured left front shin, will undergo surgery within two weeks to help expedite the healing process, and is expected to be out four to six months.

Dr. Stephen Selway, who took another set of X-rays Sunday night after having taken a set Saturday, said he wanted to wait a little while, to allow the horse to get more sound and "get over the ordeal," before inserting fragment screws into Proud Citizen's cannonbone.

On Monday, Proud Citizen was resting comfortably in his Belmont Park stall, having been fitted with a soft cast around his left foreleg. Selway said the fracture is three inches long and located two inches below the knee.

Last year, Selway took chips out of Proud Citizen's left knee, but he said the injuries are unrelated.

Selway added that a shin fracture is "the most frustrating fracture for owners, trainers and vets" because it requires a long time to heal. "It's like a human tibia from a ski injury," Selway said. "It's a long healing process. You really have to be patient."

Selway added that the prognosis for a return to racing is excellent, and on Sunday morning trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he was hopeful he would get the horse back in time for the Strub Series next winter at Santa Anita. The Strub Series begins with the Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs in late December.

"There's no thought about it compromising his racing career," Lukas said. "Of all the things that could have happened, I guess that was the best-case scenario."

Proud Citizen came out of nowhere to be a factor in this year's Triple Crown. After running seventh in the Santa Anita Derby April 6, Proud Citizen punched his Derby ticket with a front-running win in the Lexington Stakes on April 20. Two weeks later, in the Kentucky Derby, he chased War Emblem around the track while finishing second. On May 18, Proud Citizen endured a wide trip while finishing third in the Preakness.

Saturday, Proud Citizen was in striking position around the far turn, but could not kick in as a result of his injury.

Proud Citizen earned $30,000 for his fifth-place finish. His owners, David Cornstein, Robert Baker, and William Mack, were to donate that plus another $70,000 to the Twin Towers Fund to aid the families of victims from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Imadeed 50-50 to survive

Imadeed, involved in a brutal spill during the running of Saturday's WNBC Stakes on the Belmont undercard, tore the suspensory ligaments in her right foreleg and will undergo surgery later this week in an effort to save her as a broodmare.

Imadeed was shipped to Kentucky Sunday morning on the same plane that brought classic winners War Emblem and Sarava from New York. Imadeed went to the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington, where Dr. Larry Bramlage is scheduled to operate on her.

"Dr. Bramlage says she's 50-50," said trainer Steve Young, who accompanied Imadeed to Kentucky Sunday before flying back to New York later in the day.

Imadeed went down in upper stretch of the WNBC Stakes, and Pleasant County fell over her. Pleasant County fractured her skull and died instantly.

Initial reports from New York Racing Association vets that Imadeed had fractured her sesamoids were incorrect.

Imadeed, a daughter of Alydeed owned by Claiborne Farm, won six of 16 starts and earned $213,380.

Velazquez okay after spills

Jockey John Velazquez, who was aboard Imadeed and who was involved in a spill on Friday as well, is expected to ride Wednesday at Belmont. He is listed to ride in seven races and possibly an eighth if that race comes off the turf.

"He's planning to ride Wednesday," said Angel Cordero, Velazquez's agent. "He's body-sore, but nothing's broken. He's got the flu, to make things worse. He wants to ride; let's see what happens.''

In Friday's Flash Stakes, Velazquez was aboard Windsor Lodge, who crashed into Renegade Warrior, who suffered a fatal compound fracture of his left foreleg. Velazquez took off his last three mounts Friday and first three on Saturday. His first mount back was Imadeed. Velazquez took off his remaining mounts Saturday and all of his mounts on Sunday.

Test next for You

You, who set a stakes record winning Friday's Grade 1 Acorn Stakes, will make her next start in the $250,000 Test Stakes on July 27 at Saratoga, trainer Bobby Frankel said.

Frankel said he did not want to run You back in the June 29 Mother Goose Stakes because there would be only 22 days between races and the nine furlongs of that race may be too far.

"I like to give her time between races," Frankel said. "She loses a lot of weight between races. She's a light filly."

You won the one-mile Acorn by 7 1/4 lengths and her time of 1:34.05 established a stakes record.

Bella Bellucci, who finished third as the 3-5 favorite in the Acorn, is expected to run back in the Mother Goose, trainer Neil Drysdale said.

Meanwhile, Frankel said that Beat Hollow, the front-running winner of Saturday's Manhattan Handicap, will probably ship out of town for his next two starts. Frankel said he will consider the $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar on July 28 and then the Arlington Million on Aug. 17 for Beat Hollow.

Where to go next?

Trainers Mark Hennig and Frank Alexander are in a bit of a quandary over to what to do with their weekend stakes winners Gygistar and Babae.

Gygistar was a powerful 4 1/2-length winner of the seven-furlong Riva Ridge Stakes Saturday, his fourth win from five career starts. Hennig must decide whether to keep the 3-year-old gelding sprinting or try to stretch him out.

"The way he's rating and acting, like he'll do just about anything, makes you want to venture out in longer distances," Hennig said. "He kind of came around a little too late. Had he come around a little sooner he could have run in the Withers and Peter Pan. I've got to really sit down and look what's available. If the King's Bishop were six weeks away we'd definitely keep him at this distance."

The King's Bishop, a Grade 1 run at seven furlongs, is not until Aug. 24. If Hennig elects to point for that race, then the $250,000 Carry Back Stakes at Calder on July 13 or the $100,000 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup at Monmouth on July 4 would be good preps for Gygistar. The Dwyer at Belmont on July 7 or the Long Branch Stakes on July 13 are options Hennig could choose to stretch out Gygistar.

Trainer Frank Alexander wants to keep Just a Game Breeders' Cup winner Babae at a mile or 1 1/16 miles, meaning there are no races for her at Belmont the remainder of the meet. Alexander said he could try to stretch out Babae to nine furlongs in a race like the Diana at Saratoga on July 27.