06/05/2002 11:00PM

Puzzlement out of Belmont

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Puzzlement will not run in Saturday's Belmont Stakes because of a bruise in his right front foot, according to the colt's trainer, Allen Jerkens.

Jerkens discovered the bruise around 7 a.m. on Thursday when Puzzlement was being readied for his morning gallop. Puzzlement exhibited soreness in his right front and there was heat in the hoof area.

"I don't know how he did it," a disappointed Jerkens said. "The vet says it looks like an abscess is getting ready to come out."

Jerkens said Puzzlement's hoof will be tubbed in hot water and a poultice will be applied to help draw out the abscess.

"He'll miss a few days," Jerkens said. "Thank goodness, it wasn't something like a fractured sesamoid."

Puzzlement, who was 30-1 in the morning-line for the Belmont, finished second to Sunday Break in the Peter Pan on May 28.