John Henry, the world's top money-winning thoroughbred, definitely will not run in the Breeders' Cup next week.
Trainer Ron McAnally said the gelding has continued to show the swelling in his left ankle that has bothered him in recent weeks and that he might be developing a problem in the right ankle, too.
"He's galloping fine and he comes back okay," McAnally said, "but the next day when we take the bandages off it's still there. We have to stop on him right now. If we do stop now, we'll have a horse for next year. If we go ahead and run, that might be it."
The trainer said the 9-year-old will be sidelined for about two months. Not only will he miss the $2 million turf race at Hollywood Park next Saturday, he will not have a chance to meet Slew o' Gold later this season in a showdown for the horse of the year title.
Owner Sam Rubin had made an initial $133,000 payment out of a $400,000 entry fee to make John Henry a supplementary nominee to the Breeders' Cup. Rubin will forfeit that down payment, but will not be required to put up the entire supplementary fee.
The loss of John Henry is obviously a major blow to the Breeders' Cup. He is the world's leading winning thoroughbred and is considered the top box office attraction in U.S. racing. His absence is expected to hurt both the live gate and television ratings.
John Henry has won his last six turf races, and has won more than $2 million this year and $6.5 million over his brilliant career.