Updated on 09/16/2011 7:18AM

Buddha out of Derby with bruised foot


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Buddha, the Wood Memorial winner who would have been one of the favorites in Saturday's Kentucky Derby, was scratched from the race Friday morning due to lameness in his left foreleg.

The exact nature of the injury was not known, but it is believed to be a soft-tissue injury of the foot or ankle. It is not believed to be a fracture, according to Dr. Larry Bramlage, the on-call veterinarian from the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

"By 11 o'clock the horse was already 50 percent better, still lame, but 50 percent better in his left forelimb," said Bramlage, who added the foot improved with the administration of a local anesthetic. "The question is, is what that mild lameness is. Certainly, you can't take a chance on that."

Trainer James Bond said that regardless how well Buddha recovered from his injury, he would not run the horse in the Preakness on May 18. Bond's next major objective with Buddha is the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 24

"I think this is a really nice horse, I don't think that's the prudent thing to do," Bond said Friday morning. "Even if he was 80 percent tomorrow, and 100 percent the next day, you got to give them time. I always believed if you treat them well, they'll treat you back well. It's a long year."

Bramlage said that a bone scan, also known as a nuclear scintigraphy, would most likely be performed on Buddha on Monday.

"If it was a bone problem we would anticipate it would not have improved that fast," Bramlage said.

It is unclear how and when the injury occurred. Buddha did train at Belmont Park, and had his final two workouts over a wet track. He arrived in Kentucky on Tuesday and galloped over Churchill's surface on Wednesday and Thursday.

Bond, who had not started a horse in the Derby, took the injury quite hard.

"It's sickening, really sickening," Bond said. "I got wrapped up in the Derby a little bit more than I wanted to, to be honest with you. The man upstairs said 'Whoa.' I did everything I the way I wanted to, it just wasn't meant to be."

* The scratch of Buddha left Pat Day without a mount, but only temporarily. Day picked up Blue Burner, replacing Corey Nakatani, who was injured in a track mishap Thursday at Hollywood Park. Nakatani suffered "a light concussion," according to his agent Bob Meldahl, and was advised not to fly by his doctor.

"I'm very lucky to have a replacement like Pat," said Bill Mott, the trainer of Day. "He knows the race, he knows the racetrack and he knows me - we're the same age."

Posts: Inside horses move out

Buddha was to start from post 10 in the 20-horse field. Typically, his scratch would have meant that the horses in posts 11 through 20 would have moved in one position.

However, the track stewards have decided to move the horses from posts 1 through 9 out one position, leaving the rail open.