BALTIMORE, SEPT. 6 -- Little Bold John hit another roadblock in his latest comeback attempt, forcing him out of Sunday's Maryland Million and clouding his racing future.

The 8-year-old gelding, Maryland's leading active money winner at $1.8 million, reinjured the suspensory ligament in his left hind leg as a result of a workout last week at Bowie.

Little Bold John had worked six furlongs in 1:14 aside fleet stablemate Pulverizing, and trainer Jerry Robb considered him ready for the $100,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap, which ESPN will televise live along with the $200,000 Classic. But swelling ensued, and this morning Robb said Little Bold John will not be entered in the six-furlong race.

"He's getting better every day, but he's still not ready to start back," Robb said. "I don't know if {the ligament} is ever gonna hold. But I'm not gonna run him unless he's right."

Little Bold John has been out of sorts since he wrenched the suspensory following the Breeders' Cup Mile last November. He rested three months but sputtered thereafter, finishing fifth, seventh and eighth in three starts.

"I thought I might have brought him back a little too quick last time," Robb said. "But he's had plenty of time now. It might just be one of those injuries that never heals. At this point I'm not sure."

Voted the best older Maryland-bred male each of the past two years, Little Bold John has made $1,852,267 largely by grinding out 25 stakes victories, most ever by a Maryland thoroughbred.

With 87 races (and 32 wins) over seven seasons he has proven durable as well as profitable, but now his best days appear well past. After making almost $1.5 million the previous three years, he hasn't earned a penny in 1990. He last raced in March and last won a year ago.

Even so, racing secretary Larry Abbundi had assigned Little Bold John 117 pounds in the Sprint Handicap, second to Born To Shop's 120.

Although known as a distance runner, Little Bold John has flourished as a sprinter. In the seven-furlong General George Stakes last year, he circled a talented field to steal victory from Oraibi.

Robb was hoping to relive such a moment on Sunday; now, he'll try to salvage something of the horse's future. "I wouldn't have him back in training if I didn't think it was possible," he said.