ARCADIA, Calif. — Coolmore Stud's Magician will be scratched from his attempted title defense in the Breeders' Cup Turf after he was discovered to be lame in his right front, trainer Aidan O'Brien said Wednesday morning at Santa Anita Park.
Attrition continues to take its toll on the 2014 Breeders' Cup as Magician is the second major defection in as many days. On Tuesday, Grade I winner and morning-line favorite American Pharoah was declared out of the Juvenile with a possible foot bruise.
"Very disappointing, really," O'Brien said. "This is the race we were looking at all year. Just this morning, when he came out for his trot, he was acutely lame."
A 4-year-old son of Galileo, Magician won last year's Turf by half a length over The Fugue, capping a year that also saw him win the Group I Irish 2000 Guineas. The bay horse has struggled to get back to that form this season, with a May 5 win in the Group III Mooresbridge Stakes his lone triumph in six starts.
Magician was coming into the Turf off a runner-up finish to Hardest Core in the Grade I Arlington Million on Aug. 16.
"Obviously we hadn't gotten him back this year to last year," O'Brien said. "But everything through the year had been to come here. We were just dialing him, gently, gently, gently until this was the one we decided to push him for. It's just a big pity."
Magician is slated to stand at Coolmore's Kentucky-based Ashford Stud for 2015. He retires with five wins from 14 starts and $2,580,402 in earnings.
Free as a Bird out of Turf Sprint
Ian Wilkes-trainee Free as a Bird, winner of the Franklin County Stakes at Keene-land on Oct. 10, will miss Saturday's Turf Sprint after she was spooked while being boarded on a plane for California.
"She didn't like the sound of the engines and had to be backed off the plane," said Wilkes, who added it was the first time the 5-year-old daughter of Hard Spun had flown. "As long as she is OK, we're fine."
Owned by Elizabeth Valando, Free as a Bird was coming into the Breeders' Cup with a five-race winning streak. With her defection, Grade III winner Ageless now draws into the field of 14.
American Pharoah has nuclear scan
Trainer Bob Baffert said American Pharoah underwent a nuclear scan Wednesday morning to further evaluate his condition after being scratched from the Juvenile with a possible foot bruise.
Results were not expected until possibly Thursday afternoon.
Baffert still has an entrant in the Juvenile in One Lucky Dane while Zayat Stables, owner of American Pharoah, also has another Juvenile contender in Mr. Z.
"American Pharoah was our (San Francisco Giants' ace Madison) Bumgarner," Baffert said. "Now One Lucky Dane has to step up like one of their other pitchers has to."