Housebuster, the magnificent sprinter and winner of nine graded stakes this year, will miss the Breeders' Cup due to an injury, ending any chance he had of winning Horse of the Year or the 3-year-old championship.
An outsider for those two honors anyway, any hopes his handlers had of winning them disappeared on Saturday in the Vosburgh at Belmont, when Housebuster sustained injuries that will keep him out of action until next year.
"We'll skip the Breeders' Cup. It's tough. He's been a good horse all year. He's run his heart out, and then this happens. But you've got to look after your horse," trainer Jimmy Croll said by telephone from his New Jersey home.
Housebuster sustained several cuts on his legs during the race, in which he finished fifth, 15 lengths behind winner Sewickley.
"He rapped himself pretty hard," Croll said. "He cut his hind leg, and just all in all, he needs some time. We don't figure he could get back for the Breeders' Cup in a proper way."
Croll said Housebuster also strained an ankle ligament.
Housebuster was ranked fourth in the latest National Thoroughbred Poll with rankings based on the votes of 37 sports and Thoroughbred racing media representatives.
The Breeders' Cup is scheduled for Oct. 27 at Belmont. Housebuster would have been entered in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Housebuster won 9 of 11 races this year, none longer than a mile and most at six or seven furlongs. He beat Preakness winner Summer Squall in the Swale last March at seven furlongs, and he won the Jerome at a mile on Sept. 3 at Belmont just before his start in the seven-furlong Vosburgh. He has won $693,716 lifetime for owner Robert P. Levy.
With no single 3-year-old or older horse standing alone this season, Housebuster was given an outside shot at one of those two titles, although no sprinter ever has won either of them. Now, while he still could be sprint champion, he has no chance at either of the two more prestigious titles.
"We were well aware of that," Croll said. "It's unfortunate, but it did happen, and we don't figure we can take a chance on jeopardizing him. It's a tough pill to swallow, but we had to do it."
Croll said Housebuster would be shipped to Gulfstream Park in Florida to rest and resume racing in the winter.
"He'll run as a 4-year-old," Croll said. "But we won't make him any worse off this year."
NATIONAL THOROUGHBRED POLL
The National Thoroughbred poll for 1990 conducted by Thoroughbred Racing Communications Inc. (TRC), covering racing performances through Sept. 30. Rankings based on the votes of 41 sports and thoroughbred racing media representatives with first-place votes in parentheses, age and sex, 1990 record (starts, 1sts, 2nds, 3rds), total points and last week's ranking. (C-colt, G-gelding, H-horse, F-filly, M-mare)
1. Criminal Type (22) 5-H 11-7-2-0 334 2 2. Go for the Wand (6) 3-F 7-6-1-0 292 3 3. Summer Squall (4) 3-C 6-4-2-0 267 4 4. Housebuster (1) 3-C 11-9-1-0 246 1 5. Bayakoa 6-M 8-5-2-0 178 5 6. Izvestia (1) 3-C 9-8-1-0 170 6 7. Golden Pheasant 4-C 5-3-0-1 132 7 8. Dispersal (2) 4-C 8-6-0-0 107 8 9. Beau Genius (1) 5-H 12-9-1-1 69 9 10. Unbridled (1) 3-C 10-3-3-2 53
Other horses receiving votes: Meadow Star 51, With Approval 40, Eastern Echo 35, Steinlen 24, Gorgeous 23, Sunday Silence 4, Home At Last 3, Safely Kept 3, Best Pal 1, Quiet American 1, Rhythm 1, Sewickley 1.