05/18/2005 12:00AM

Slewicide Cruise hurts ligament, out for year


AUBURN, Wash. - Slewicide Cruise is likely to be out for the remainder of the year after suffering a strained suspensory ligament in a workout last Saturday at Emerald Downs, according to trainer Robbie Baze.

Slewicide Cruise, a 5-year-old son of Slewdledo who races for Tom and Margo Boening, won his last four starts, including victories in last September's Chinook Pass Sprint and in the recent Seattle Handicap at six furlongs. He worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 under rider Debbie Hoonan on Saturday in preparation for a scheduled start in Sunday's Fox Sports Net Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs.

"He took a bad step pulling up, and later there was some swelling in his leg," said Baze.

Dr. Elliott Simkins, the veterinarian on the grounds at Emerald, examined Slewicide Cruise.

"The X-rays came back clean," Baze said, "but Dr. Simkins thinks he strained a suspensory ligament. It's not real bad as far as suspensory injuries go, but it's bad enough."

Baze said the injury will be reassessed in about two weeks, but that preliminary plans call for Slewicide Cruise to undergo shock-wave therapy. He said he is inclined to give Slewicide Cruise plenty of time to recover, and that he doesn't foresee putting him back into training until January.

"It's a shame it had to happen now, because I really think he was sitting on a big year," said Baze. "If we take care of him and don't push him, though, he can come back next year."

Slewicide Cruise is the second local handicap star to be lost to a suspensory injury in the space of five weeks. Demon Warlock, who was named horse of the meeting last year at Emerald, pulled a suspensory ligament while winning the Portland Meadows Mile on April 9.

How far can Queenledo go?

Queenledo left little doubt that she is the best sprinter in the local 3-year-old filly division with her 5 3/4-length victory in Sunday's 6 1/2-furlong Federal Way Handicap, which followed a 2 1/4-length score in the six-furlong U.S. Bank Stakes on opening weekend.

The question now is whether Queenledo, a daughter of Slewdledo from the barn of trainer Tim McCanna, can continue her dominance around two turns. Queenledo finished a distant sixth in her lone route try last year, in the one-mile Barbara Shinpoch Stakes, but McCanna feels that effort must be disregarded.

"She got bounced off the fence when she was making her move on the turn, and she sort of lost interest after that," he said. "She deserves another chance."

McCanna said he won't do anything special to prepare Queenledo for her next assignment in the one-mile Irish Day Handicap on June 12.

"I'll probably bring her up to it the same way I brought her up to this one, with a work a week out and a two-minute lick the day before the race," he said. "She is plenty fit, so it is just a question of whether she will go that far. My experience has been that most of them will go a mile if they will relax and rate, and she will certainly do that. She is pretty much a push-button horse."

Queenledo's latest win continued a remarkable run for her 24-year-old sire, who has ranked as Washington's leading sire for the past three years. Slewdledo has sired the winners of four of the five stakes run at the meeting.

McCanna sets blazing early pace

With 14 wins from 42 starters through the first 15 days of this 101-day stand, McCanna is on pace to smash his own record of 55 wins at an Emerald Downs meeting. One limiting factor, however, is that McCanna has already lost nine horses via the claim box. He has also claimed two horses - Diamond View and Mr. Melcap - but both were claimed away in their very next start.

"I know they've taken a bunch of my horses, but that's okay," said McCanna. "I've got a lot more at home. I'm not going to run out."

A total of 48 horses have been claimed at the meeting. The most active trainers at the claim box have been defending leading trainer Frank Lucarelli with five claims and Vanessa Hunt with four.

Youbet to take Emerald wagers

Youbet.com became the third account wagering company to be licensed to take bets on races at Emerald Downs at last week's meeting of the Washington Horse Racing Commission.

As a condition of its license, Youbet.com agreed to pay $400,000 for illegally taking about $12 million in wagers on Emerald races last year. That money will be divided among the track, the commission, and the horsemen's purse account.

Before 2004, no law was in place to permit account wagering in Washington, though many companies took wagers on Emerald races. A 2004 law that legalized telephone and Internet wagering also set up procedures for collecting a share of the revenues as compensation for lost business. Emerald must now negotiate a contract with Youbet.com to determine its share of the revenue from bets on Emerald races.

TVG and XpressBet were licensed to take wagers on Emerald last year.