05/19/2010 12:00AM

Setsuko to miss Belmont start


Setsuko will skip the Belmont Stakes because of inflammation in his ankles, trainer Richard Mandella said Wednesday. Runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby and considered a candidate for the Triple Crown races, Setsuko was excluded from the Kentucky Derby because of insufficient graded stakes earnings. He ran instead April 30 in the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs, and finished fourth.

Mandella brought Setsuko home to Santa Anita to prepare for the Belmont, but the colt was not up to stress. He had slow workouts on May 11 and May 18 before his ankles flared up.

"The Triple Crown is catching up with him," Mandella said, explaining the decision to pull the plug on a spring campaign.

"It's nothing serious," Mandella emphasized. "We are going to give him a couple months off and start thinking about next year." A son of Pleasantly Perfect, Setsuko has won 1 of 9, with four runner-up finishes including in two Kentucky Derby prep races at Santa Anita - the Grade 3 Sham Stakes on March 6 and the Santa Anita Derby on April 3.