Cairo Prince, winner of the Grade II Holy Bull Stakes in January, is being sent to Lexington's Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and will miss the Kentucky Derby because of an injured left front ankle, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Saturday.
McLaughlin said Cairo Prince worked well last Sunday when he went 4 furlongs in 48.60 seconds at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida but came out of the move "jammed up" on Monday.
"We've had some little tiny bit of issues with his feet at times so we thought it was his feet," McLaughlin said. "We soaked and worked on his feet and they got better but he didn't really get 100 percent sound. We X-rayed him and couldn't see anything. We helped the foot but it wasn't solely the foot, it was the ankle also. So he's on his way to Rood & Riddle, and Dr. (Larry) Bramlage will help us diagnose what it is because we're not sure."
Owned by a group that includes Godolphin Racing, Paul Braverman, Terrence Murray, Craig Robertson III, and Harvey Clarke, Cairo Prince most recently finished fourth in the Grade I Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park but still had enough points to make the Kentucky Derby field.
McLaughlin, a Lexington native, had called the gray colt his best-ever prospect for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
"It's just very sad for my whole staff and team and everybody," McLaughlin said. "They all put forth such a big effort and we had a great chance to win (the Derby). He hadn't missed a day of training all year and then, boom, this happens.
"Very unlucky timing, bad timing. But hopefully we have a horse for the summer and fall. He's a very talented horse."
Cairo Prince won the Grade II Nashua Stakes last November and was beaten just by a nose in the Grade II Remsen to cap his juvenile campaign.
The withdrawal of Cairo Prince opens the door for Grade III Sam F. Davis winner Vinceremos to make the Kentucky Derby field on points. Vinceremos most recently ran last of 14 in the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.
"I watched him train the last two mornings and he's been training really good," said Randy Gullatt of Twin Creeks Racing, which co-owns Vinceremos along with WinStar Farm. "We'll let the horse make the call. If he has two good weeks as good as he's had the last two days, it looks very favorable for us."
Bond Holder loses battle with laminitis
Grade I winner Bond Holder has died due to laminitis, trainer Doug O'Neill announced on his Facebook page Saturday.
The 3-year-old had been sent to a clinic in Ocala, Fla., in March after an abscess developed in his left hind foot.
"Bond Holder through each setback fought valiantly and never gave up," O'Neill said in his post. "The severity of the laminitis was ultimately too much to overcome. Our collective hearts are heavy."
Owned by Paul Reddam, Bond Holder broke his maiden by winning the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita Park last September, his lone win in seven career starts.
California Chrome works
Probable Kentucky Derby favorite California Chrome put in his first move since winning the Grade I Santa Anita Derby, covering 4 furlongs in :47.80 at Los Alamitos on Saturday.
"It was exactly what I wanted," said trainer Art Sherman, who is set to ship the colt to Churchill Downs on April 28.
■ At Churchill Downs' Trackside training center, Grade II Louisiana Derby winner Vicar's in Trouble prepared for his start in the Kentucky Derby with a 5-furlong breeze in 1:00.40. Grade II Robert B. Lewis winner Candy Boy also worked Saturday, drilling 5 furlongs in :59.80 at Santa Anita Park.