10/24/2002 11:00PM

Sky Mesa injured, scratched

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John Oxley's undefeated 2-year-old Sky Mesa was declared Friday morning from Saturday's Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile because of an ankle injury in his right fore. The undefeated son of Pulpit was the 3-to-1 morning line favorite for the 1 1/8 miles test.

"It looks like it could be a strain or a wrench," said trainer John Ward.

"The best part of it is that there is no evidence of a condylar fracture and initial pictures show no crack. It's going to take Dr. (Larry) Bramlage a couple of days to sort it out. It's unfortunate timing, but the future might still look good."

"It wasn't there when he came back from the track yesterday," said Donna Ward, the trainer's wife and assistant. "Who knows where it happened? The groom said he left at 10:30 last night and the colt was moving around fine.

"When the groom called this morning he said it looked like he was tender in the stall. The fortunate thing is that better today than tomorrow (during the race). The local vet (Dr. Vincent Brencick) who saw him this morning said it looked like a sprain. Let's hope that's all it is."