07/01/2002 12:00AM

Proud Citizen surgery on hold


Dr. Stephen Selway on Monday elected to postpone scheduled surgery to repair the fractured left front shin of Kentucky Derby runner-up Proud Citizen. Proud Citizen was injured while finishing fifth in the Belmont Stakes on June 8.

Selway was planning to insert a screw into the left cannonbone of Proud Citizen, but after re-examining the injury on Monday afternoon opted against the surgery. Selway said there were a number of tiny fractures in close proximity to the larger fracture that would make surgery a bit risky. He's hoping with more time, some of the tiny fractures as well as the larger fracture would heal some on their own. The shin fracture is three inches long and located two inches below the knee.

"I'm not convinced it would be safe to go in and fix major fracture at this time," said Selway, who added he may wait another two or three weeks to perform the surgery. "It's a difficult fracture to deal with because it's right underneath the knee. He's doing fine, he's back in his stall. I'd rather play it safe than sorry. When it tells us its safe to put screws in, we'll do it. Until then, it's better to keep the knife in the pocket."

Proud Citizen, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in April to earn a start in the Kentucky Derby where he chased War Emblem around the track before finishing second. He had a wide trip while third in the Preakness before the Belmont

It is unlikely Proud Citizen would make it back to the races this year. Lukas has previously said the colt, if healthy, would run as a 4-year-old.