10/19/2008 11:00PM

Sprint: J Be K withdrawn

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The field for the Breeders' Cup Sprint could be reduced to as few as nine starters following the announcement Monday by trainer Steve Asmussen that J Be K has been withdrawn from consideration for the race.

J Be K, winner of the Grade 2 Woody Stephens and both the Grade 3 Bay Shore and Jersey Shore stakes earlier this year, was one of only 13 horses pre-entered for the Sprint. Of that group, Indian Blessing is expected to start in the Filly and Mare Sprint and Lewis Michael in the Dirt Mile. Tropic Storm, who had given first preference to the Turf Sprint, was declared out of the Breeders' Cup because of an injured tendon.

J Be K finished out of the money in his last two starts, checking home a tiring sixth in the Grade 1 King's Bishop and fifth after also vying for the early lead in the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont Park on

Sept. 27, when he took on older horses for the first time.

"He hasn't come back to himself since the Vosburgh," said Asmussen. "The Vosburgh shook him up and he hasn't come back to being the sprinter we know he is. It's very disappointing. We came out here to give him a chance to get back on his feet. This is in the best interest of him right now."

Two likely starters for the Sprint worked at Santa Anita on Monday, including defending champion Midnight Lute who went an easy half-mile in 47.16 seconds immediately after the renovation break. He was followed 45 minutes later by Black Seventeen, upset winner of the Vosburgh, who also went a half-mile, but in a more leisurely 48.36 seconds.