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Dunkirk sidelined by injury

Dunkirk could return to training later this year (Debra Kral/Horsephotos.com)

Coolmore's DUNKIRK (Unbridled's Song) exited Saturday's runner-up finish in the Belmont S. (G1) with a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind cannon bone and will likely be sidelined the rest of the year. X-rays showed the fracture on Monday, and the gray colt was scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday at the recently opened Ruffian Equine Medical Center across the street from Belmont Park.

Trainer Todd Pletcher is optimistic that the multiple Grade 1 runner-up will make it back to the races.

"I don't anticipate this would prevent him from reaching his maximum potential," Pletcher told Daily Racing Form. "There have been a lot of horses that have returned from this sort of injury and done extremely well."

While the possibility remains of him making it back to the races this year, Dunkirk will probably be pointed toward a four-year-old campaign in 2010. Pletcher said he would likely remain at the clinic a couple of days before returning to his barn. Within the next couple of weeks, he is expected to ship to Lexington, Kentucky, where he will recuperate at his connections' Ashford Stud.

Purchased by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Susan Magnier for $3.7 million at the 2007 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Dunkirk didn't make his three-year-old debut until January, winning a maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park. He followed with an impressive 4 3/4-length allowance score on February 19 and then made his stakes debut in the March 28 Florida Derby (G1), rallying from off the pace to finish second to Quality Road (Elusive Quality). Dunkirk was bet down to the 5-1 second choice in the Kentucky Derby (G1), but he stumbled at the start and was checked repeatedly during the early stages, eventually crossing the wire 11th.

The Kentucky-bred colt surprisingly set the pace in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont. After being passed by Mine That Bird (Birdstone) at the top of the stretch, he gamely re-rallied to overtake that rival but was no match for the late-running Summer Bird (Birdstone), who drew clear late for a 2 3/4-length decision.

Out of 2000 Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Mother Goose (G1) heroine Secret Status (A.P. Indy), Dunkirk has earned $393,200 from a 5-2-2-0 line.


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