02/13/2002 12:00AM

Who's left to ride Leaping Plum


GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - Riders Newil Wall and Kelly Murray started out the Fonner Park meet last week by sustaining injuries in separate starting gate incidents, and both were on crutches in the racing office when entries were taken Wednesday morning.

Wall sustained a hairline fracture just above the ankle in a gate mishap Saturday and reported the injury to be more like a high ankle sprain. His objective is to be aboard Leaping Plum when the 11-year-old aims for an eighth straight victory in Grasmick Handicap on Saturday.

Murray said his foot was broken in two places when he was pinched between his mount and another rival when they bumped leaving the gate in Sunday's third race. He finished second in the race, then pulled up and asked the outrider to lead him back to the unsaddling area, complaining of pain in his foot. He said he could miss as many as six weeks.

If he was healthy, Murray would have been the likely backup for Wall on Leaping Plum for Saturday's race.

* Jerry Carkeek picked up the first four-bagger of the meet Sunday. Carkeek booted home three straight, starting in the fifth aboard Charlies Cook ($5.80), Fly on By ($8), and Jazz Troupe ($41.40), then won the nightcap aboard Song of Saba ($11).