The second favorite for the Kentucky Derby has been scratched at the 11th hour due to a minor heel injury and will be rerouted to Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes in October. It is desperately sad news for trainer Thomas Drury Jr. who was taking a horse to the Run for the Roses for the first time.
Speaking to Jennie Rees who is a pool reporter covering the race from the Kentucky HBPA, Drury said the following when announcing the news that he wouldn’t be entering the winner of the Blue Grass Stakes and Ellis Park Derby into the Derby when the official entries list is handed in on Tuesday morning.
“He grabbed himself yesterday morning training, It was still very sensitive this morning. When I took my thumbs to palpate the bulbs of his heels, you could still tell it was pinching him. I had to make a choice. Your horse has to always come first. To run in a race of this caliber and trying to compete against the best 3-year-olds in this country, you've got to be 110%. To me, it wouldn't have been fair to Art Collector, even though it's slight, knowing that there's an issue of any kind.
"I had a meeting yesterday afternoon with my veterinarians, Dr. Foster Northrup, Rick Costelle, had my blacksmith there. We discussed some different scenarios. We maybe could have put a bar shoe on it and stabilized it and he would have been fine. But you're going to the Kentucky Derby. First and foremost, as the trainer, it's my responsibility to be the voice for the horse. That's just not fair to him (to run). He's been too good to us, and we're going to make sure he's taken care of first."
This hugely disappointing news means that Tiz the Law once more sees a legitimate opponent fall by the weyside due to injury. Charlatan, Maxfield and Nadal were all seen at various points as real contenders for the Derby but have seen their ambitions quelled. Art Collector joins that list just hours before the field is set.