A sprained ankle has knocked 3rd Turn Racing Stable's Honor in War, winner of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs and runner-up in the recent Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland, out of consideration for the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).Trainer Paul J. McGee said Honor in War had already been pre-entered in the $1.5-million race, but the pre-entry was withdrawn after close examination of the injury. McGee said the injury is not serious, but the timing is very poor."He's got heat and inflammation in his left front," said McGee. "Although it ultrasounds clean and it X rays clean, clinically it's just not good enough to run him 11 days from now."McGee said the first indication of the problem followed a routine gallop by Honor in War on Saturday. He said the 4-year-old son of Lord At War returned from the gallop with a small filling, or "wind puff," on the back of the ankle. McGee sent the colt out for light training on Sunday and the filling in the ankle worsened, so Honor in War did not train on Monday or Tuesday. The 3rd Turn Stable is a partnership headed by former National Football League star and Louisville resident Will Wolford. Honor in War would have been the stable's first Breeders' Cup starter and McGee's second. McGee saddled the veteran sprinter Bet On Sunshine in three runnings of the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), who finished third in that race in 1997 and 2000."It's very disappointing," said McGee. "I'm sick about it and Will's sick about it, but there's nothing we can do about it. We were going in very confident. I thought that last race (in the Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile) set him up just right. I thought we were going to be a big factor."Honor in War has a career record of 7-2-3 in 17 races and has earned $732,296. He emerged as a turf star this year and has compiled a record of 4-1-1 in nine races, highlighted by wins in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic and the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) and his runner-up finish to Perfect Soul in the Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile.
McGee said plans for the rest of the year would depend upon the speed of Honor in War's recovery from his injury. He said the colt would likely be nominated to Churchill Downs' $150,000-added River City Handicap (gr. IIIT), which will be run on Nov. 16 at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.