07/12/2013 4:00PM

Normandy Invasion will miss Saratoga meet while damaged hoof heals

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Barbara D. Livingston
Normandy Invasion had part of a hoof cut off as the result of an abscess and will miss several weeks of training, but may be ready for the Pennsylvania Derby in September.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Owner Rick Porter thought he had come up with a good plan for Normandy Invasion.
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After Normandy Invasion finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby, Porter and trainer Chad Brown elected to skip the remainder of the Triple Crown series in order to have a fresh horse for the summer, with the goal being the $1 million Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 24.

But there’s an old axiom in racing that goes “If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.”

An abscess in his right front foot will prevent Normandy Invasion from running at Saratoga this summer. However, if all goes well, Normandy Invasion could train up to the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on Sept. 21, Porter said Friday.

On Friday morning, noted equine hoof specialist Ian McKinlay examined Normandy Invasion at Saratoga. According to Porter, McKinlay’s prognosis was pretty positive, though Normandy Invasion would have to be taken out of training for two to three weeks.

“After Chad and Ian looked things over this morning they would be shocked that he wouldn’t be ready,” Porter said. “[Brown] thinks he could have him back in training in a couple of weeks. They think the Pennsylvania Derby will be a very reasonable target to shoot for at this point.”

McKinlay had to cut off a piece of Normandy Invasion’s right front hoof, which will have to grow back naturally. McKinlay will likely build a supportive wall around the area he removed to facilitate growth.

“The bottom line is it was a very positive report this morning,” Porter said. “We didn’t expect to hear as good news as we did, although it’s very disappointing because I set up a plan to have a very fresh horse going into the summer and not get hung up in the Triple Crown deal. No matter how you plan it, you’re at the mercy of whatever might happen.”

Normandy Invasion is 1 for 6 in his career with narrow losses in the Grade 2 Remsen at 2 and a late-running second to Verrazano in the Wood Memorial, a result that earned him a spot in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished fourth after making the lead at the quarter pole.