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Event of the Year sidelined

Event of the Year earned a shot at the Kentucky Derby, but a fractured knee will keep the unbeaten colt from taking it.

"He deserves the opportunity no doubt about it," owner John Mabee said Friday.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said the prognosis for a full recovery is good and the colt probably can come back in about six months.

"I'm sorry we won't be able to run here," said Hollendorfer, fighting back tears.

The horse worked five-eighths of a mile Friday in 59 4/5 seconds and galloped out three-quarters of a mile in 1:14. About 2{ hours later, X-rays revealed the injury to the right front knee.

Whether the son of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew races again or goes to stud remains to be seen.

It appears there will be 16 Derby starters May 2. One will be Santa Anita Derby winner Indian Charlie, unbeaten in four starts.

DERBY TRIAL: Churchill Downs opens its spring meeting today with a tribute to Secretariat and the running of a stakes whose name is a bit of a misnomer.

The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Yarrow Brae appears to be the only Trial horse to have any chance of running in the Kentucky Derby.

"We're not really thinking Derby, but if he were to run spectacularly we would," said Lukas, who has a Kentucky Derby contender in Cape Town.

Recently the 1-mile Trial has become more of a prep for the Preakness, the second Triple Crown race May 16 at Pimlico.

The 25th anniversary of the Derby victory of Secretariat will be commemorated. The first 10,000 patrons will receive a poster of Secretariat and his owner, Penny Chenery, and jockey, Ron Turcotte, will sign autographs.