ARCADIA, Calif. — Multiple Grade I winner Ron the Greek will not run in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic because of a quarter crack in his right front foot, trainer Bill Mott confirmed Thursday.
Mott said an abscess was discovered in the foot Wednesday afternoon after the 6-year-old son of Full Mandate trained strongly over the Santa Anita Park track.
"He had a strong gallop yesterday and he must have just bumped the heel of his foot wrong and he got an abscess in the bulb of his heel," Mott said. "We soaked him and it opened up and relieved some of the pressure late yesterday afternoon, but he was still sore on it this morning and I just made the determination that we couldn't have him good enough to run on Saturday."
Ron the Greek was coming off a 63/4-length win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic last year. Mott said he expected the bay horse to be able to resume full training in a matter of weeks but was uncertain if his ownership group would bring him back for a 7-year-old campaign.
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"Ron has been good to me. He doesn't owe me or anybody that is connected to him anything, but as well as he was doing and the race that he was departing from, the Jockey Club Gold Cup, everybody was enthusiastic about running him and taking his chance," said Mott, who still has Grade I winner Flat Out in the Classic. "I feel terrible for the owners and the staff."
Added trainer Todd Pletcher, who will saddle Classic entrant Palace Malice, "It's a significant defection in my eyes."
Wise Dan 'good as he was' in morning gallop
Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan made his first appearance Thursday morning on the Santa Anita turf course since winning last year's Mile in course-record time.
With regular exercise rider Damien Rock up, the morning-line favorite for Saturday's Mile jogged around to the finish line on the main track and then galloped almost 11⁄8 miles on the turf while staying well out from the middle of the course.
"I kept him out wide and when he realized he wasn't working, he relaxed a little bit," Rock said. "I was delighted with this morning. He is every bit as good as he was last year."