03/08/2014 11:00AM

Top Billing injured in workout, will miss Kentucky Derby

Barbara D. Livingston
Top Billing will have surgery in Kentucky to repair his cracked right front cannon bone.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Top Billing is off the Kentucky Derby trail after suffering a cracked cannon bone in his right front leg during a routine half-mile workout Saturday morning at Payson Park.

According to trainer Shug McGaughey, Top Billing had completed his work and was walking back to the barn when he detected the 3-year-old was not travelling well.

“He worked fine and galloped out nicely but you could see he was not comfortable on the way back to the barn,” said McGaughey. “He’ll be sent immediately to Dr. [Larry] Bramlage  and undergo surgery either Sunday or early Monday. The long term prognosis is a good one.”   

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

Top Billing, a son of Curlin, won two of his first three starts, including an allowance race in impressive fashion here earlier this winter. In his most recent outing, Top Billing finished third behind Wildcat Red and General a Rod in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. McGaughey said Friday that he was pointing Top Billing to the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 29.

Honor Code to make 3-year-old debut Wednesday

McGaughey’s other top Kentucky Derby prospect, Honor Code, is slated to launch his 3-year-old campaign in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race here Wednesday. Honor Code had a minor setback of his own earlier this winter that cost him 10 days of training but has been working forwardly for his return since being transferred from Payson to Gulfstream Park in late January.

McGaughey had originally planned on bringing Honor Code back in the Grade 2 Rebel next Saturday at Oaklawn. But P.J. Campo, vice president of racing for the Stronach Group, approached McGaughey and asked if he’d be willing to keep Honor Code in Florida if he could fill a two-turn allowance race for him next week.

“The biggest factor in the decision to remain here for the allowance race and not go in the Rebel is that we don’t have to ship,” said McGaughey, who won the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Orb.

McGaughey had originally been eyeing the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 5 for Honor Code’s final Kentucky Derby prep. But with Top Billing now out of the race, McGaughey left the door open that Honor Code could possibly remain here for the Florida Derby, depending upon his performance on Wednesday.

John Burton More than 1 year ago
So sad to hear about TOP BILLINGS injury and his missing the Kentucky Derby. I am gald HONOR CODE will get his 1st race back this week on Wednesday at Gulfstream and that, if HONOR CODE has a good race on Wednesday, then he will stay and run in the Florida Derby. Shug, it only takes one! Good luck!
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
WTF??? No, not TB
RICKY More than 1 year ago
the violin is playing..
Anna Montanucci More than 1 year ago
It's too bad, but maybe missing the Derby is a blessing in disguise for this colt. He's a nice animal but this year's potential field has lots of tough candidates and as popular as his allowance win was, I don't think that plus his 3rd place showing in the FOY was enough to justify crowning him the next Derby winner.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Best of luck to Shug n his barn with Honor Code. Nice to have the Remsen winner getting cranked up. People forget he handed Cairo Prince defeat going 1 1/8 and probably has enough points to qualify right now. Third off layoff going into Kentucky smart as well. Safe recovery to Top Billing.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
He only has 14 points. He will need third maybe second to make it.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Last year a colt made it with ZERO.
Craig More than 1 year ago
Top Billing out Mr.Speaker in,just like the NFL,next man up.
Philip C More than 1 year ago
Running Honor Code in an allowance race instead of the Rebel could be huge mistake. Especially with the Kentucky Derby point system.
SHESOUNDSHIDEOUS More than 1 year ago
I'm just glad it wasn't a life-threatening injury, best wishes TB for a full recovery.
Scott More than 1 year ago
It's not looking like a repeat win for Shug this year. Honor Code is trying to do the unthinkable and make up for missed time. He might be good enough to make the starting gate this year, but I just don't see him winning. I was thinking Top Billing was definitely one to watch. Now, I just hope he comes through and we might get to see him next year. This year really hasn't delivered any real standout yet in my mind. Still quite a few preps, but I'm getting the feeling that this year's Derby will be wide open. The payout will be HUGE if you can hit. Good luck hitting the Lottery to all!
mark oleary More than 1 year ago
To all those cynics and haters out there: " Get real, it's a tough game and the nature and dynamics of a man made thoroughbred is to be fragile" Consider they are 1,000 pounds going 35 miles per hour with 130 pound excercise rider up, plus the tack, landing on only one leg at a time in a full stride, onto a leg about the diameter of an average human 's arm. Like I said they are a man made animal in that they are developed by years of genetics and breeding for one and only one purpose : to run fast! So what other than racing these fantastic animals do you suggest? Have them draw a cart ? Pull a wagon ? Plow a field ? I don't think so ! So if all you can do is criticize something you know very little about, then just shut up and go bother someone else.