ARCADIA, Calif. -- A shin injury has put leading 3-year-old Square Eddie on the sidelines.
The runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last October, Square Eddie was taken out of training for at least two weeks on Thursday after he was diagnosed with sore shins Wednesday, trainer Doug O'Neill said. The injury will prevent Square Eddie from a scheduled start in the $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 16.
"We'll slow down and see where it goes," O'Neill said. "I've got to take him out of training for a short period of time. I'm kind of counting in two-week intervals."
O'Neill said it was unclear when Square Eddie would make his next start. The trainer stopped short of declaring Square Eddie out of contention for the Kentucky Derby or the major preps in the early spring.
"We're still in the game and still in the picture," he said.
Square Eddie has made one start this year, finishing second to The Pamplemousse in the Grade 3 San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 17.
Owned by Paul Reddam, Square Eddie has won 2 of 7 starts and $787,366. Based in England early last year, Square Eddie won the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity over Keeneland's Polytrack surface in October in his U.S. debut.
Yankee Bravo, Monba set for comebacks
More than eight months after disappointing performances in Triple Crown races, the 2008 stakes winners Monba and Yankee Bravo resume their careers in Saturday's $100,000 Thunder Road Handicap over a mile on turf.
Yankee Bravo, winner of the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields in January 2008, was 10th in the Preakness Stakes last May, his most recent start. Yankee Bravo was being prepared for a start in the Del Mar Derby last summer when trainer Paddy Gallagher abandoned the comeback.
"He was ready to run at Del Mar and he didn't seem right," Gallagher said. "It's been awhile since he's run. We'll get him back going again."
Yankee Bravo has already won a stakes at a mile on turf at Santa Anita - the Eddie Logan Stakes in his U.S. debut in December 2007.
Monba has not started since finishing last of 20 in the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Monba won the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland last April in an 8-1 upset. The Thunder Road will be Monba's first start on turf, if the race stays on that surface. Rain is possible, and that could force the race onto the main track.
"He's ready to run," said Michael McCarthy, Pletcher's assistant in California.
Court Vision points to Big Cap
Court Vision and Zambezi Sun, major stakes winners on turf in recent months, and Dansant, a multiple stakes winner in England, are being pointed for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7.
Court Vision, winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on turf last November and the third-place finisher in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap last Sunday, will make his stakes debut on a synthetic track in the Big Cap, the richest race of the meeting.
Owned by IEAH Stables and WinStar Farms and trained by Bill Mott, Court Vision has won four stakes - two on turf and two on dirt. He was 13th in the Kentucky Derby last year.
"We're going to run him in the Big Cap," said Michael Iavarone, co-president of IEAH Stables. "I think our horse with his style ... that's a real good style for that track. He's a graded stakes winner on dirt. He's a Grade 1 winner on grass. He broke his maiden on synthetic."
Court Vision was beaten less than a length by Kip Deville in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. The loss ended a two-race winning streak comprising the Grade 2 Jamaica Handicap and the Hollywood Derby.
Trainer Bobby Frankel said Thursday that Zambezi Sun may be trained up to the Big Cap. A 5-year-old horse, Zambezi Sun has yet to start in the United States. In France, he won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris in 2007 and the Group 2 Prix Foy last September. Previously trained by Pascal Bary, Zambezi Sun has not started since finishing 15th of 16 in the $5.5 million Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp last October.
Dansant, a winner of five stakes in England on synthetic tracks, has not started since winning the Quebec Stakes at Lingfield Park on Dec. 20. He was scheduled to run in a stakes at Wolverhampton, England, on Thursday, but the card was canceled because of snow.
Trained by Gerard Butler, Dansant has won 7 of 18 starts in his career and 5 of 7 on synthetic tracks.
Tiago returns in San Antonio Handicap
Tiago, fourth in the 2008 Santa Anita Handicap and third in the Breeders' Cup Classic in October in his most recent start, makes his 5-year-old debut in Sunday's $200,000 San Antonio Handicap.
Trainer John Shirreffs warns that Tiago may need a start to reach full fitness.
"We gave him a break after the Breeders' Cup," Shirreffs said. "It's the start of a new season. I wouldn't expect him to be at his best."
The Grade 2 San Antonio is run over 1 1/8 miles and is a key prep to the Big Cap. Tiago is part of a field of 11 that includes Champs Elysees, who was eighth in the BC Classic, and Well Armed, who won the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes here last September and was a troubled fourth in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap here Jan. 10.
Tiago won the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap last April, his only win in eight starts last year. Owned by breeders Jerry and Ann Moss, Tiago has a more striking appearance this year, Shirreffs said.
"He's a lot bigger this year," he said. "He's a high-caliber horse."
- additional reporting by Brad Free