Horse Racing / Sports

Hoppertunity scratched from Derby because of foot problem

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Graded stakes winner Hoppertunity, the 6-to-1 second choice in the morning line for the 140th Kentucky Derby, will be scratched from the first leg of the Triple Crown because of a problem with his left front foot, trainer Bob Baffert said Thursday.

"Hoppertunity came out with an issue with the foot. We're going to have Dr. Larry Bramlage (of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital) look at it," Baffert said. "He (Bramlage) checked him out and knees, ankles are all good. He warms out of it, but it's biting him a little bit. We felt more comfortable withdrawing him. So we're going to get him scanned.

"We're pretty sure it's the foot, but we want to make sure there is nothing else wrong with him so we can continue on with him to the Preakness maybe. The timing obviously is horrible."

Hoppertunity did not train at Churchill Downs on Thursday morning. Baffert said they first noticed Wednesday morning that the colt was off.

"Yesterday when he came out, but then he warmed out of it," Baffert said. "Then when I schooled him yesterday he was fine. We jogged him for my vet and he jogged fine. When he came out today he was still a little bit off, (but) the more he walked, the more he came out of it. But it's something I didn't feel comfortable with."

Hoppertunity won the Grade II Rebel Stakes on March 15 at Oaklawn Park in his fourth career start and was second to California Chrome in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 5.

The son of Any Given Saturday was attempting to become the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a 2-year-old.

Hoppertunity's exit leaves the door open for Pablo Del Monte, the lone also-eligible horse entered, to get into the Derby field. Blake Heap, assistant to trainer Wesley Ward, said Thursday that no decision has been made on whether Pablo Del Monte would run, as he would have to break from the outside No. 20 post.

Heap said the decision would be left up to owners Coolmore Stud on whether Pablo Del Monte would start.

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