Private Gold Out of Iroquois Stakes

(From track report)
Robert and Beverly Lewis' 2-year-old Private Gold sustained an ankle injury Friday and has been scratched from Sunday's one-mile Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.

"He wrenched his left front ankle," trainer Patrick Byrne said. "This game is amazing. You walk in the barn feeling pretty good about yourself and you're having a pretty nice week -- and then you see that he's got some filling and heat in it."

Byrne does not believe the son of Seeking the Gold is seriously injured, but it is more than enough to keep the winner of the Ellis Park Juvenile out of the Iroquois.

"He's sound on it," said Byrne. "We X-rayed it and X-rays showed up nothing, so it's okay."

Private Gold had tuned up for the Iroquois with a sharp four-furlong work on Tuesday and had galloped without incident on Thursday. But when the colt's bandages came off on Friday morning, the ankle was swollen.

"It's just so disappointing," Byrne said. "I think he just did it playing around in his stall."

Private Gold had followed his Ellis Park Juvenile victory with a good runner-up finish to eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Vindication in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) at Turfway Park. But Byrne's confidence in the colt was jolted when Private Gold threw an uncharacteristic tantrum in the starting gate for the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II) at Keeneland and then finished a dull sixth, beaten 16 lengths by Sky Mesa.

Byrne took the colt to the starting gate the next day and several times since and believed that Private Gold's gate woes were a one-time distraction, but how he will have to wait for the final returns on that gate work.

"I don't know what we'll do now," Byrne said. "It would have been a tough race, but it would have been nice to have been in there. I'm just trying to get this horse back on track."

Private Gold has a career record of 2-2-0 in five races and has earned $113,685.