Updated on 11/01/2011 1:53PM

Breeders' Cup: Prayer for Relief out of Classic with fever

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Prayer for Relief did not make the flight from California after coming down with a fever.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The field for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday at Churchill Downs was reduced from 13 to 12 on Tuesday morning when the longshot Prayer for Relief came out of the race because of a fever, trainer Bob Baffert said Tuesday.

Tuesday was not a good day for Baffert. In addition to having Prayer for Relief come out, Baffert was delayed in transit in Chicago at O’Hare International Airport owing to a minor explosion in a terminal there.

"Can’t get to gate yet," he said in a text.

Prayer for Relief had worked a half-mile in 46.40 seconds on Monday morning at Santa Anita, but had a temperature that reached 103 degrees, according to Baffert, before his scheduled flight to Kentucky early Tuesday morning. Normal temperature for a horse is around 100 degrees.

As a result, Prayer for Relief, 3, was not on a shipment from the West Coast that included several of Baffert’s other Breeders’ Cup runners, including Game On Dude, who now will be his lone starter in the Classic.

Prayer for Relief, a winner of 5-of-9 lifetime, had won four of his last five starts, including the Super Derby, West Virginia Derby, and Iowa Derby. He most recently was third in the Oklahoma Derby on Oct. 16 at Remington Park.

Prayer for Relief, a colt by Jump Start, was purchased as a yearling for $80,000 by owner Ahmed Zayat, and has earned a little more than $1 million.

"What a shame," Zayat said early Tuesday morning.

Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper, adjusted his morning line for the Classic following the defection of Prayer for Relief. He now has Uncle Mo favored at 5-2, with the filly Havre de Grace next at 3-1. After the post draw on Monday, Watchmaker had Uncle Mo at 3-1, and Havre de Grace at 7-2.

Flat Out remains the third choice at 6-1 on Watchmaker’s line.

Prayer for Relief had drawn the inside post for the Classic. Now, Flat Out, the Jockey Club Gold Cup winner, will start closest to the rail.