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Lil’s Lad Injured, Out of Derby

April 13, 1998

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ Lil’s Lad is out of the Kentucky Derby because of a chipped ankle bone, discovered after his defeat in the Blue Grass Stakes perplexed his co-owner and trainer.

``He’s been bothered by something in his last couple of races and now we know what it was,″ co-owner Will Farish said Monday. ``He’s going to have arthroscopic surgery on the left front ankle.″

Trainer Neil Howard said he hoped the arthroscopic surgery would be performed Tuesday in Lexington. He thinks the colt could next race at the Saratoga meeting in August or by September.

The chip was discovered in an X-ray Sunday, one day after the classy colt with a world of speed placed second behind Halory Hunter in the Blue Grass at Keeneland.

Lil’s Lad led through moderate fractions but was unable to respond when Halory Hunter passed him.

``I’m sorry that he’s going to miss the Derby, but we had no other choice,″ Farish, board chariman of Churchill Downs, told The Associated Press from Delray, Fla. ``It’s going to be early summer or fall before he comes back to racing. He’s a talented colt.″

Lil’s Lad won his first three starts but kept bearing out in the recent Florida Derby, was disqualified and placed second for bumping Cape Town, who was made the winner.

Howard said no X-rays were taken after that race. He suspected trouble after watching Saturday’s race.

``It was pinching him a little bit in the stress of a race,″ Howard said Monday. ``You could tell something was wrong.″

Similarly, jockey Jerry Bailey said after the Blue Grass that he was beginning to worry about what made Lil’s Lad bear out on Saturday as well as in the Florida Derby.

Howard also trains two other Derby hopefuls of which Farish is a co-owner. They are Comic Strip, winner of the Louisiana Derby and a disappointing third in the Flamingo, and Parade Ground, third in the Wood Memorial.

Farish and Centennial Farms, headed by Don Little, each bought 25 percent of Lil’s Lad from Murray and Lillian Durst for a total of $1.3 million last November.