One of the expected top challengers to favorite Tiz the Law will not be entering the Kentucky Derby, after all.
Toyota Blue Grass Stakes winner Art Collector will not enter the $3 million race because of a minor foot issue, trainer Tom Drury told Jennie Rees of the Kentucky HBPA on Tuesday morning.
According to Churchill Downs, Art Collector "nicked the bulb of his left front heel with a hind hoof while galloping Monday at Churchill Downs. Because of horse racing strict medication rules, the horse can not be treated with an anti-inflammatory this close to the race."
Art Collector returned to his training base at Skylight Training Center on Monday morning.
"He grabbed himself yesterday morning training," Drury told Rees. "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 percent. 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, 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."
After winning the Blue Grass in July, Art Collector triumphed in the Ellis Park Derby on Aug. 9, making him the possible second choice in the betting behind Tiz the Law, who has won the Florida Derby, Belmont and Travers Stakes this year.
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