Rockport Harbor, who finished sixth in Saturday's Lexington Stakes (gr. II) as the 3-5 favorite, emerged from the race in "great physical condition" but will no longer be pointed toward the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) or other two legs of the Triple Crown, according to owner Rick Porter.
In a statement posted on the Rockport Harbor's Web site, Porter attributed the Lexington loss to the horse's inability to handle the off track at Keeneland. "I knew he was in big trouble within the first 300 yards," Porter wrote. "He has such a big stride that he never got comfortable enough to stretch out."
Trained by John Servis, who won the Derby and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with Smarty Jones last year, Rockport Harbor has won four of six lifetime starts.
Porter noted that while the son of Unbridled's Song
could probably be pointed toward the Preakness and Belmont Stakes (gr. I), "giving him a break and pointing to some good summer stakes is the better option for him."
Porter said the Travers Stakes (gr. I) and Haskell Invitational (gr. I) were likely targets for 'Rocky.
Unbeaten in four starts last year and an Eclipse Award finalist, Rockport Harbor was bothered by a foot injury that ocurred at the end of last season and was unable to make a scheduled start in the Southwest Stakes. Off nearly a four-month layoff, he ran a good second behind Greater Good in his 3-year-old debut in the March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III). But then he was dealt another setback when a blood clot was discovered while the colt was preparing for the Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
"He has been subjected to a lot of medical treatment, including a lot of injections and antibiotics," Porter said, "(and) therefore we will ship back to Philadelphia Park next week and resume training. He has proven he is an exceptional horse with a great future if he is managed properly. We are doing what we think is best for Rocky. He has a great future as a 3-year-old and as a 4-year-old. Many great 3-year-olds have been 'burned out' through rushing them through the Triple Crown process."
Porter concluded his message by inviting race fans to Philly Park to watch Rockport Harbor's future workouts.