05/01/2014 9:20AM

Hoppertunity scratched from Kentucky Derby due to foot issue

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Barbara D. Livingston
Hoppertunity has been sent to the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital to have his left front foot examined.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Hoppertunity, runner-up to California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby and winner of the Rebel Stakes, was scratched from the Kentucky Derby on Thursday morning because of an issue with his left front foot, trainer Bob Baffert said.

Baffert said he suspects that Hoppertunity merely has a foot bruise, but, for precautionary reasons, he is sending Hoppertunity to the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., for a full evaluation with noted veterinarian Dr. Larry Bramlage.

Baffert said that if Hoppertunity’s problem is limited to the foot bruise, and the bruise heals quickly, he could be ready to run in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, on May 17 at Pimlico.

“He had to be 100 percent. I don’t feel good about it,” Baffert said. “I’m pretty sure it’s the foot. It needs a couple of days to soak in hot water and Epsom salts. We ran out of time. We have to get him right. He’s not 100 percent this morning. It’s too close to the race, so I pulled the plug.”

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Hoppertunity had his final work for the Derby on Monday, on a morning when heavy rain hit the area and left the track very sloppy. Hoppertunity walked on Tuesday, then jogged on Wednesday, at which time Baffert said he first noticed Hoppertunity was slightly off on the inside quarter of the left front foot. The portion of the shoe covering that area was cut away, or “three-quartered,” after training on Wednesday, Baffert said.

Baffert said when Hoppertunity schooled in the paddock on Wednesday, and returned to the barn for a brief jog, he seemed fine.

But on Thursday morning, Hoppertunity was again slightly off during his pre-training jog at the barn. And even though Baffert said Hoppertunity seemed to be “warming out of it,” Baffert said he did not feel comfortable pressing on. So, Baffert kept Hoppertunity off the track Thursday morning, then announced the scratch.

Clive Weidle 7 months ago
Bob...Martin,..& Chitu...That's the real "Hoppertunity"....Go Chitu Go !!
Bustedbox2 7 months ago
Good decision. Like Drysdale's to scratch Derby favorite A.P. Indy on the morning of the race. No sense taking a chance with the colt's future. Drysdale's prudence was rewarded with wins in the Belmont, Breeders' Cup Classic and Horse of the Year.
Gstavo Delgado 7 months ago
This is all agift from the sea.Chitu.
Gary Camejo 7 months ago
These things of racing it always happens to the good ones......what a shame.
jttf 8 months ago
this years futures pool #1 (nov), only has 3 horses remaining. pool #2 (feb) has 7 remaining. last year's pool #1 (feb) had 14 derby starters. this is serious problem that horsemen just ignore. riva ridge, secretariat, foolish pleasure, bold forbes, seattle slew, affirmed, spectacular bid were all awesome two year olds that went on to win the derby. how come they didnt need today's meds ?
A Zal 8 months ago
For all those saying Cc will perish in a speed duel have you ever one say to yourself, oh wait the jock on Cc will stalk the speed horse?????
francis healy 8 months ago
AGREED , HE PICK HIS SPOT TO MOVE NOT A LEAD THE LEAD TYPE OF HORSE
A Zal 8 months ago
Baffert, Pletcher, Baffert, Pletcher, Baffert, Pletcher.......The end.
Thomas Cook 8 months ago
With two or three quality speed horses inside of CC , and now Pablo on far outside with speed, maybe this move puts CC at a greater disadvantage being pressed from both sides or having to take back? Great horsemanship to scratch Hopportunity. Even better handicapping....Anyone thought of that??
francis healy 8 months ago
No way Victor will chase cheap speed , he,ll sit the trip he so desires this is a push button horse start looking for TC FUTURES
Nikki Marcus 8 months ago
Glad to hear the health of the horse comes first, but sad that I can't bet my farm on him like I wanted too! Hopertunity :O) to see him at the Preakness - I will bet the farm then! xxoo
jtim11 8 months ago
frustrating when one of my pitches gets scratched...