Updated on 05/03/2013 2:13PM

Kentucky Derby: Black Onyx scratched

Barbara D. Livingston
Black Onyx, winner of the Spiral, will not run in the Kentucky Derby. His scratch came too late to allow the race’s lone also-eligible, Fear the Kitten, to start.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Black Onyx, the winner of the Spiral Stakes, was scratched from Saturday's Kentucky Derby on Friday when X-rays revealed a chip in his left front ankle, trainer Kelly Breen said.

The timing of the scratch was unfortunate, because Churchill Downs sets scratch time for the Derby at 9 a.m. on Friday, and X-rays could not be taken on the suspicious ankle until after 9:30. By that time, Fear the Kitten, the lone horse on the also-eligible list, had been scratched.

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Breen said an initial set of X-rays was inconclusive, but a second set found what he described as a "non-displaced" chip. The scratch was then announced, shortly after 11 a.m.

According to Breen, Black Onyx had a bit of swelling in the ankle on Friday morning, but he believed it was from wrenching an ankle, nothing serious, and galloped him during Friday's early-morning training hours.

"I just thought he was having a bad day, slept on it wrong. But after he came back, there was a little bit of lameness, 1 on a scale of 5, a minor limp, so we ordered X-rays," Breen said.

Breen said by the time he could summons a veterinarian, take jockey Joe Bravo back to his hotel, and fight through closed roads to reach Churchill Downs again, it was past scratch time.

"It couldn't have been worse timing," Breen said.

Black Onyx was the first Derby entrant to arrive at Churchill Downs, just days after winning the Spiral on March 23. He had appeared to train well all week.

"I never saw a sign of anything," said Bravo, who was aboard Black Onyx for his final two workouts.

The scratch the day before the race shows "it's tough to get" to the Derby, Breen said.

Breen was awaiting consultation with veterinarians over what the next step would be with Black Onyx, but it is far from a career-threatening injury.

"He'll either have routine surgery, or be given time to heal," Breen said.

Black Onyx, a colt by Rock Hard Ten, has won three times in five starts.

Black Onyx had drawn the rail, but Churchill Downs officials said his stall would be left open, and the remaining 19 runners would stay in their original posts.


Bryan E More than 1 year ago
I assumed he would scratch Black Onyx as soon as I saw the post position draw. When I heard that he scratched after the deadline for Fear the Kitten to enter, my first though was...The only reason I can think for Breen to have been "delayed" will be if it turns out that Gate 1 will be left empty and Lukas and Oxbow benefit from the timing. It was just a thought....
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Not out of the uno gate, no chansa, Fear the Kitten ?, yeah thats what the other were doing ! Verrzno 12 in early bet, notice before this week, he didn't run at two ? ridden hard in wood ? No speed outside of 14, will break running, if ya beat him, be inside 1/16th pole........... .......best chance bet, Itsmyluckyday, fits beyerwise...best chance a 50-1 ever had ...............Frac Dad,,,,,,,thats the talk now ... "watch those Scat Daddy's"
B Smith More than 1 year ago
Oh, come on. The timing of the scratch was on purpose, for whatever manipulative reason they have for doing whatever it is they feel like doing. "Make sure you don't X-ray that horse until it's too late, or you're fired!!!!"
not impressed More than 1 year ago
SO you'd rather him run unsound? Gez glad you don't train my horses...
PALACE MALICE More than 1 year ago
why the heck did they scratch 'Fear The Kitten'???? I just don't understand that logic at all.
Bryan E More than 1 year ago
They didn't have a choice. At 9a.m., when betting for the Derby opened, any also eligibles were automatically scratched if a horse hadn't already scratched from the main field, Black Onyx didn't scratch until after the 9am deadline.
myjockwon More than 1 year ago
its well known that Mr. Breen scratches his horses on a regular basis when they draw the 1 post. Like 100 million people, doesn't Mr Breen carry a cell phone,and couldn't he let the stewards know whats going on just in case he had to scratch.i feel bad for Mr Irvin the owners of Fear The Kitten
Sir More than 1 year ago
Out of all the bombs Black Onyx had the most potential to pull off the upset.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Agreed. Much better than 50-1.
Eric Kozlowski More than 1 year ago
I googled the post position rules and it states that they move in...Perhaps the moderator of the comments can get a clarification or request a explanation!
ghost2_ More than 1 year ago
I also googled the rules, and they say that PRIOR to the scratch deadline, if a horse is pulled out, all other horses move in. In contrast, if a horse is removed after the scratch deadline, "the post positions shall be moved, without changing the order of the starters, as determined by the stewards and CDI to be in the best interests of the safety of the race participants." So they have discretion in this case.
Eric Kozlowski More than 1 year ago
Agree but then Churchill needs to say that the one post is unsafe in a two gate race, good point!
Ed Felsen More than 1 year ago
Early Derby betting has Revolutionary (10-1 ML), Goldencents (5-1 ML), and Orb (7-2 ML fav.) all at 5-1. Verrazano (4-1 ML) is at 12-1, and Normandy Invasion (12-1 ML) is at 8-1.
Eric Kozlowski More than 1 year ago
There are some nice replies about moving horses inward and the idea allowing room but the rule must be in black and white. If I had a post in the far outside I would want to move in closer. If the AE had drawn in they would have moved over, seems arbitrary when a written rule should exist.
Todd Hess More than 1 year ago
Here's why they won't/can't move them in. For arguments sake, lets say Oxbow won the right to choose his post first in the draw. Lets say they thought the 2 hole was the best spot for their horse so they chose accordingly. You can't now come back and punish him by moving him to the 1 hole and put him up against the rail. He won the draw and should get the post they chose as part of that process.
Sharjil Ahmad More than 1 year ago
Watch out for Oxbow ! There wont be a happier man than Lukas right now. Oxbow, if breaks well will have his race to lose.....