Leading Kentucky Derby contender Nadal retired with condylar fracture

John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Horse Racing

The Kentucky Derby lost one of, if not its leading contender on Thursday.

Co-owner George Bolton told the BloodHorse that undefeated 3-year-old Nadal is being retired after suffering a left front Condylar fracture during a workout Thursday morning.

A division winner of the Arkansas Derby on May 2, Nadal worked 4 furlongs in :48 4/5 at Santa Anita Park for trainer Bob Baffert. He was to undergo surgery at the track, according to Bolton.

After winning the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita, the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn and then a division of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn, Nadal sat atop the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 150 points. According to Baffert, he was being pointed toward the Belmont Stakes on June 20 at Belmont Park.

The son of Breeders' Cup Classic winner Blame, Nadal is owned by the partnership of Bolton, Barry Lipman and Mark Mathiesen. He was bred in Kentucky by Sierra Farm.

Unraced at age 2, Nadal was expected to benefit from the coronavirus pandemic postponing the Kentucky Derby until Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs. The Preakness is scheduled for Oct. 3 at Pimlico.

Another of Baffert's top Kentucky Derby contenders, Charlatan, has come under scrutiny after reportedly testing positive for a banned substance after his Arkansas Derby win. A split sample has been sent to an independent lab for verification.


Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby five times -- Sliver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002), American Pharaoh (2015) and Justify (2018).

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Wednesday approved live racing dates for Keeneland from July 8 through July 12 without spectators. Keeneland's top Kentucky Derby prep, the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, will be run July 11.

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