04/27/2014 11:49AM

Kentucky Derby: Commanding Curve replaces ailing Ring Weekend

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Barbara D. Livingston
Ring Weekend was forced to withdraw from the Kentucky Derby after spiking a temperature of 102 degrees. His defection puts Commanding Curve into the field.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Ring Weekend is out, Commanding Curve is in, Bayern popped his bubble, and Pablo Del Monte is now on the bubble. Those were the developments on Sunday morning in terms of the current prospective field for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, for which final entries will be taken, and post positions drawn, on Wednesday at Churchill Downs.

Ring Weekend, who had been 14th on the points list, thanks to his Tampa Bay Derby victory, was declared from the race on Sunday. That allowed Commanding Curve, who had been ranked 21st, to move into the maximum 20-horse field. Both are owned by a West Points Thoroughbred-led partnership, though the composition of both partnerships is different.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

 According to trainer Graham Motion, Ring Weekend had a temperature of 102 on Sunday morning, and a series of blood tests confirmed he has “a pretty serious infection,” Motion said.

 Motion said Ring Weekend has been treated with anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. He said it will take 48 hours before he knows how the horse is reacting to them.

 “You’d like to think we could make the Preakness,” Motion said, referring to the second leg of the Triple Crown on May 17 at Pimlico, “but he’s going to have to get over this rather quickly to do that...”

 In 2011, Motion had to scratch Wood Memorial winner Toby’s Corner the week before the Derby after he came out of a workout unsound. Motion still won the race that year with Animal Kingdom.

 “I know he was going to be a longshot,” Motion said about Ring Weekend. “But I was really looking forward to running him.”

 Commanding Curve, third last time out in the Louisiana Derby, thus moved into the field.

 Bayern, who earned $34,280 for second place in the Derby Trial on Saturday night, thus would have moved up the list to 21st owing to the tie-breaker, earnings in non-restricted stakes. But, as expected, trainer Bob Baffert on Sunday said Bayern would not run in the Derby, which would have meant running him back in a week and for the third time in three weeks.

 So, Pablo Del Monte ascended to 21st, and is now the bubble horse. He and Commanding Curve both have 20 points, but Commanding Curve is ranked higher owing to having more earnings in non-restricted stakes.

 Wesley Ward, the trainer of Pablo Del Monte, is desirous of running in the Derby.

 Social Inclusion is now 22nd on the points list. He also has 20 points, but fewer non-restricted stakes earnings than Pablo Del Monte.

 Social Inclusion is scheduled to work a half-mile on Monday at Gulfstream Park. His owner, Ron Sanchez, has said he would ship to Louisville if he knew he could get into the race. But, as of Sunday, Sanchez said he had not made any shipping arrangements.

When entries are drawn on Wednesday, up to four also-eligibles can be named, in order of their standing on the points list. Scratch time for the Derby is 9 a.m. Friday, the day before the Derby.

--additional reporting by David Grening and Mike Welsch