Kentucky Derby

Midshipman off Kentucky Derby trail

When Street Sense captured the 2007 Kentucky Derby, much was made of the fact that he had finally snapped the so-called "juvenile jinx" to become the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner to ever wear the roses and the first 2-year-old champion to take the race since 1979.

Given the events of the past weekend, it appears the hex is trying to make a comeback.

For the second straight season, the reigning champion 2-year-old male will not even make it to the first Saturday in May.

On Sunday, Godolphin Racing announced its Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Midshipman had suffered a soft tissue injury to his left front leg while training in Dubai and will miss the entire Triple Crown series.

Last year, 2007 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and champion War Pass was also knocked off the Kentucky Derby trail because of injury and was subsequently retired a few months later.

Midshipman was slated to make his 3-year-old debut on March 5 in the Al Bastakiya, a listed stakes at Nad al Sheba. The son of Unbridled's Song sustained his injury during routine exercise at Godolphin's Al Quoz Stables on Saturday.

"Unfortunately Midshipman has knocked himself and inevitably this injury will rule him out of the Triple Crown races," Simon Cris-ford, racing manager for Godolphin, said in a statement. "It is a huge shame as he had been pleasing us enormously and was ready to make his reappearance next Thursday.

"He is scheduled to return to America in early April and hopefully he will be back on the track later in the season," Crisford continued. "We can't risk him right now as we need to give his injury time to settle. It is in his best interest to give him time to return to peak fitness later in the year."

With Midshipman now off the trail and Vineyard Haven showing little fire during his fourth-place run in the UAE 2000 Guineas, Desert Party appears to be the main hope for the once-loaded Godolphin contingent.

The same day Midshipman went out of contention, Quality Road launched himself into the Derby picture with his 41/4-length victory in the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes in just his third career start.

Quality Road, a son of Elusive Quality, broke his maiden first time out at Aqueduct on Nov. 29 and then ran second to Theregoesjojo in an allowance race at Gulfstream on Jan. 10.

"He came out of his last race with a little cough, but has trained great since then," trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. "We've thought a lot of him from his first start."

The Pamplemousse has people thinking a lot of him as well following his six-length score in the Grade III Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Saturday.

The son of Kafwain is now unbeaten in three starts beyond a mile. Even after covering the first half-mile in a solid :46.51, he effortlessly found another gear in the stretch.

DERBY DOZEN

1. Old Fashioned: Will have one work prior to his expected start in the Grade II, 11⁄16-mile Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn on March 14.

2. Friesan Fire: Set to work Monday, which will be his first serious move since his win in the Grade III Risen Star Stakes.

3. Pioneerof the Nile: Covered six furlongs in 1:12.60 at Santa Anita Park on Sunday as he preps for the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 14. "He just cruised around there," trainer Bob Baffert said.

4. Desert Party: If he wasn't at the top of the Godolphin heap before, he absolutely is now. He is set to face stablemate Vineyard Haven again in the UAE Derby on March 28.

5. Stardom Bound: Had her final work before the Santa Anita Oaks, covering five furlongs in 1.01:40 at Santa Anita on Sunday.

6. The Pamplemousse: May not have faced the most stellar field in the Sham Stakes but you have to love the way he accelerated in the stretch and the smoothness of his stride. He just keeps moving forward each time out.

7. Quality Road: What a way to put himself back on the radar. He showed a lot of maturity in just his third career start as he rated just off some quick fractions and exploded in the lane. He's in the hands of one of the best horsemen in trainer Jimmy Jerkens.

8. Hello Broadway: Fired a bullet work at Gulfstream on Thursday, covering five furlongs in :59.20. He's being pointed for the Grade III Tampa Bay Derby on March 14.

9. Haynesfield: Quietly going about his business in New York, working five furlongs in 1.03:06 at Belmont last Monday in preparation for Saturday's Gotham Stakes.

10. Chocolate Candy: Next start to come in either the San Felipe or Santa Anita Derby.

11. Beethoven: Closed gamely from dead last to get up for third in the Fountain of Youth, but would have liked to have seen a little more from him considering the honest fractions he had to work with.

12. Capt. Candyman Can: Has yet to put together back-to-back wins since making his debut. Needs to find some consistency if he hopes to remain among the top Derby contenders.

The next dozen: Patena, Dunkirk, Vineyard Haven, General Quarters, Giant Oak, West Side Bernie, Theregoesjojo, Flying Pegasus, I Want Revenge, Regal Ransom, Big Drama, Imperial Council.

■ Patena worked six furlongs in 1.15:60 at Gulfstream on Saturday, his first move since joining Rick Dutrow's barn. "When we got him here we wanted to go to work on some hind-end issues and try to help him put some weight on," Dutrow said. "He had been coughing for about 10 days. (Saturday) was the first day he scoped completely clean."

Alicia Wincze

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