04/06/2011 9:53AM

S. S. Stone, Skip Away winner, sidelined with leg fracture


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.- S. S. Stone, who rose from the claiming ranks this winter to capture Sunday’s Grade 3 Skip Away at Gulfstream Park, will be sidelined indefinitely after exiting the race with a small fracture in his left cannon bone, trainer Nick Zito reported on Wednesday.

“He came out of the race with a small line on his cannon bone,” said Zito. “It’s nothing serious. We already did the surgery and he’ll be out a few months. He’s going to stay with me here at Palm Meadows and then probably move on to Saratoga when we leave here at the end of the month. I’m very partial to him for several reasons, since he’s owned by Mr. LaPenta was bred by Mary Lou Whitney and is a son of Birdstone.”

Zito and owner Robert LaPenta completed a big day Sunday when their Dialed In followed S. S. Stone’s victory in the Skip Away by capturing the $1 million Florida Derby.

S. S. Stone began his career in California. He was forced to miss the second half of his 3-year-old campaign and first half of his 4-year-old season after suffering a similar injury in his right cannon bone during the summer of 2009.

S. S. Stone opened his 2011 campaign by dominating a field of $20,000 claiming rivals at Gulfstream on Jan. 5. He then posted easy victories in an entry-level allowance race and against starter-allowance competition before stepping up to win the Skip Away by two lengths over Jackson Bend.

“We’re not exactly sure where the injury occurred, he probably opened it up somewhere in the final furlong or while pulling up after the race on Sunday,” said Zito. “Now he’s got matching bookends, the same injury on both legs. But I know how to deal with that. Commentator had three [cannon bone fractures] during his career. He’ll just have to be raced sparingly when he comes back. One thing I do know is that he loves Gulfstream Park, so one race we’ll definitely be pointing for will be the Donn Handicap in 2012.”

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