Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner Afleet Express has been sidelined for the remainder of the year with a partial tear of a suspensory ligament in his left front leg.
The injury is not considered career-threatening and the son of Afleet Alex is being pointed toward a 4-year-old campaign. He was expected to run in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I) at Belmont Park next weekend before trainer Jimmy Jerkens recently detected the injury at his barn. He will be rested for 90 days.
“He’s not lame; he never took a bad step,” said Jerkens. “It’s just a little tear, and we probably got it in time so there was no real lasting damage. It’s disappointing because he was in great shape, but we want to have him back as a 4-year-old, so we won’t go on this year.”
The colt, who is owned by Gainesway Farm and Martin Cherry, is 4-1-1 from seven starts and earnings of $835,140.
“It’s obviously disappointing,” said Gainesway sales director Michael Hernon. “But we’re hopeful he will return next year to race at his optimal ability. We’ll let the natural healing process take place and we’ll remain optimistic."
Afleet Express won the Aug. 28 Travers by a nose over Fly Down in a thrilling finish, two starts after scoring in the Pegasus (gr. III) at Monmouth Park for his first stakes win. He was bred in Kentucky by McMillin Brothers and James Devaney, and is out of the Distant View mare Expanse.
Afleet Alex stands at Gainesway near Lexington.