Updated on 09/17/2011 2:36PM

The Cliff's Edge scratched from Preakness


As expected, The Cliff's Edge was scratched from Saturday's $1 million Preakness Stakes because of a deep-seated bruise in his right front foot.

Trainer Nick Zito made the scratch official Friday morning, about three hours before advance wagering was to begin on the Preakness.

Zito first noticed a problem on Wednesday morning, but owner Robert LaPenta agreed to pay the $10,000 entry fee to buy some more time in hopes an abscess would pop, thus causing relief.

"It didn't get any better this morning," Zito said Friday outside his barn. "Yesterday afternoon we were really feeling happy because he was his normal self, he was kicking around the barn and everything, and today he just wasn't that way."

The Cliff's Edge, who won the Grade 1 Blue Grass, finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby despite losing both front shoes in the race. The horse appeared to have come out of the Derby no worse for wear, but a strong five-furlong breeze at Churchill Downs on Sunday morning may have helped bring the injury to light.

"The track was probably fast, and it probably festered there," Zito said. "I'm just hoping that now we pulled the shoes, he gets through all this. We'll see what happens in the next couple of days."

Zito, who was still scheduled to run Sir Shackleton in the Preakness, declined to speculate whether the injury would prevent The Cliff's Edge from running in the Belmont Stakes on June 5.

"I just want the horse to look his normal way," Zito said. "When you see him train and he looks the same way, then we'll look for a race. I told Mr. LaPenta that he was good about everything. It hurts; he's a very competitive person. On the other hand, he understands."