Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck "was not a fit horse" during Saturday's $300,000 Haskell Invitional Handicap at Monmouth Park, the thoroughbred's veterinarian said yesterday. Spend a Buck was soundly beaten by 35-to-1 long shot Skip Trial in the race.

About 45 minutes after the race in which he finished second, Spend a Buck bled from the nostrils, but the colt's handlers said they don't believe that cost him the race.

However, veterinarian Robert O'Neil said, "He was not a fit horse on Saturday. He is fit now. If it (bleeding) was caused by him tiring, that's no problem."

A scope examination showed a small amount of blood in the colt's trachea, but none in the lungs, which could be a serious problem, O'Neil said.

But Spend a Buck's future plans seem to be in doubt. Owner Dennis Diaz said his next start will be the Travers Stakes Aug. 17 at Saratoga, but trainer Cam Gambolati said the horse has been placed in New Jersey's bleeder program, making his chance of racing in the Travers considerably less firm.

"If he's not going to run in the Travers, I don't see any sense in going up there," Gambolati said.

Saturday was not the first time Spend a Buck bled. After he won the Garden State Stakes on April 20, he also trickled blood.