Winchell Thoroughbreds' Untapable, winner of the 2014 Breeders' Cup Distaff, will not get the chance to defend her title as the champion filly spiked a fever and was declared out of the 11⁄8-mile race on Tuesday.
Owner Ron Winchell said that Untapable was found to have a bit of mucus after working 4 furlongs in :50.20 on Monday and that a low-grade fever was detected Tuesday morning. The 4-year-old daughter of Tapit was attempting to join Bayakoa (1989-1990) and Royal Delta (2011-2012) as the only horses to win back-to-back editions of the Distaff.
"Unfortunately, (scratching her) is the right thing to do," Winchell said. "You have to treat her with some antibiotics and that pretty much declares her out of the race. She's done so much for us and we just want to be careful.
"We trained her lightly all year basically preparing for this event. So, disappointment is an understatement."
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Untapable had drawn post No. 11 in the 14-horse field for the Distaff as she was installed with 5-1 odds on the morning line. Untapable's defection allows Grade I winner Peace and War, third in the Grade I Cotillion Stakes on Sept. 19, to draw into the Distaff field off the also-eligible list.
The 2015 season has been a downcast one for Untapable. After winning six of seven starts last year en route to being named champion 3-year-old filly, Untapable has been victorious in only one of six starts in 2015 — though that win came in the Grade I Apple Blossom in April.
In her most recent start, Untapable was beaten a neck by Got Lucky in the Grade I Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland on Oct. 4. Winchell said that while no firm decisions have been made for next year, he is leaning toward keeping his filly in training for her 5-year-old campaign.
"That's my first thought, especially after having to scratch out of this race," Winchell said. "It kind of makes you want to come back and attempt one more."
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Untapable has won nine of 17 starts with earnings of $3,816,725.
American Pharoah arrives
A Triple Crown winner has never made his final start in the state of Kentucky. On Tuesday, the 12th member of that illustrious group arrived at Keeneland to put an end to that stat.
American Pharoah, the conquering hero of the three American classics this year, brightened up the masses who braved chilled temperatures in a driving rainstorm when he arrived from California in advance of his expected finale in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday.
The champion son of Pioneerof the Nile looked as fit as ever as he stepped off the van which carried him on the short trip from Bluegrass Airport. He took a handful of spins around the shedrow in Barn 62. Owner Ahmed Zayat said the colt weighs 1,195 pounds, his most ever, and trainer Bob Baffert concurred his charge was already settling in with no problems.
"He shipped well and everybody's happy," Baffert said. "(Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes) said he was happy getting off the plane. I'm sure he liked that cool air here when he stepped off the plane, most horses do.
"Now we just want to have four good days up to the race. We're not going to do much. We just have to stay focused and make sure everything stays smooth."
Baffert said he would watch the weather before deciding when to send Pharoah out onto the Keeneland track.
He is set to enter stud at Coolmore's Ashford Stud for 2016.
Tin Type Gal out of Juvenile Fillies Turf
On Tuesday, Tin Type Gal defected from the Juvenile Fillies Turf, allowing for Time and Motion to draw into the race.
"She had a little problem and we couldn't put her on the plane this morning," said David Rock, assistant to Graham Motion, who trains Tin Type Gal.