04/12/2010 11:00PM

Uh Oh Bango injured, out of Derby

Barbara D. Livingston
"He's going to have surgery sometime this week in Oklahoma," trainer Kory Owens said of Uh Oh Bango.

Uh Oh Bango, the fourth-place finisher in the Arkansas Derby on Saturday and the 21st horse on the list of graded earnings among prospects for the May 1 Kentucky Derby, emerged from the Arkansas Derby with a fractured left front cannon bone and will be sidelined from four to six months, his trainer, Kory Owens, said Tuesday morning.

"He's going to have surgery sometime this week in Oklahoma, where a lot of people at Oaklawn send their horses," Owens said from Turf Paradise in Phoenix, where he is based during the winter. "He cooled out okay after the race, but the next day, we could tell something was not really right. He'll have a screw put in it. He should be out four to six months."

Uh Oh Bango's defection was the most significant development on the Derby front on Tuesday morning. In addition, California-based horses such as Lookin At Lucky and Sidney's Candy were flown to Kentucky, Awesome Act worked at Belmont Park, and Beethoven, whom trainer Aidan O'Brien briefly considered for the Derby, was said to be pointing for the English 2000 Guineas, also May 1.



The removal of Uh Oh Bango from the Derby, along with the continued uncertain status of Noble's Promise and Interactif, helps horses on the bubble in terms of Derby earnings, such as Jackson Bend and Backtalk. A maximum of 20 horses can run in the Derby. If more than that enter the race on April 28, the field is determined by earnings in graded stakes races.

Noble's Promise, second on the earnings list and a potential key domino in who makes the field for the Derby, is "maybe 50-50 to make the race," trainer Ken McPeek said Tuesday.

Noble's Promise colt emerged from his fifth-place finish in the Arkansas Derby with cuts and scrapes and a lung infection.

"He went to my farm in Lexington [Monday], and he'll stay there until we bring him over to Churchill Downs very early Thursday morning," McPeek said. "He'll gallop after the break Thursday, and if all goes smooth, he'll work on the 20th or 21st.

"The cuts are a nonissue - we're already taking care of them. His status for the Derby will depend a lot on how he works and how he scopes after."

Awesome Act, who was third in the Wood Memorial in his last start, worked five furlongs in 1:01.53 on the Belmont Park training track on Tuesday, two days before he was scheduled to take an overnight van ride to Louisville. It was his first work since the Wood. He is scheduled to have two more works before the Derby, both at Churchill Downs.

With assistant Wayne Tanner up, Awesome Act worked in company with the stakes winner Peace Town. Starting two lengths behind his workmate, Awesome Act followed Peace Town through an eighth in 13.36 seconds and a quarter-mile in 26.15 seconds. After getting three furlongs in 37.73 seconds, Tanner guided Awesome Act outside of Peace Town for the stretch drive. Awesome Act, who received a tap on the left shoulder from Tanner in the stretch, went by Peace Town inside the final furlong and finished about two lengths in front at the wire. Awesome Act got his final quarter in 23.80 seconds.

As was the case in the work before the Wood, Awesome Act was passed by Peace Town while the two galloped out. Awesome Act galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.63.

Awesome Act nicked himself on the left hind pastern, but it looked to be a superficial cut. Before the Wood, trainer Jeremy Noseda acknowledged Awesome Act had an infection in the left hind pastern after the Gotham.

Beethoven had a brief flirtation with the Derby, so much so that Churchill Downs officials were scrambling behind the scenes over the weekend to accommodate him should he have traveled from Ireland. But on Tuesday, O'Brien posted on his website that Beethoven "will probably start in the stanjames.com 2000 guineas in Newmarket."

"He also holds an entry in the Kentucky Derby but is unlikely to travel there," O'Brien said on his website.

Had Beethoven shipped, he would have altered the Derby earnings list, since he has $342,616 in graded earnings, which would put him in the top 20. All of that money was gleaned last year, mostly in Europe. Beethoven has not raced since finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

* Mike Smith will ride the Wood Memorial runner-up, Jackson Bend, if, as expected, he makes the Derby, according to Smith's agent, Brad Pegram.

- additional reporting by David Grening, Michael Hammersly, and Marty McGee