Horses

Breeders' Cup notes: Injury knocks favorite out of Juvenile

In a photo provided by Benoit Photo, American Pharoah and jockey Victor Espinoza win the Grade I, $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes horse race Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (AP Photo/Benoit Photo)
In a photo provided by Benoit Photo, American Pharoah and jockey Victor Espinoza win the Grade I, $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes horse race Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (AP Photo/Benoit Photo) AP

ARCADIA, Calif. — Zayat Stables' Grade I winner American Pharoah, the morning-line favorite for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, will scratch from the race because of an injury to his left front foot.

Trainer Bob Baffert said they noticed the colt was off after his 5-furlong workout Sunday. While X-rays and ultrasounds came back clean, the son of Pioneerof the Nile was still showing signs of a possible deep bruise in the foot and will be sent for a nuclear scan this week.

"It's just to the point where he is so valuable and we all know what a great horse he is, how valuable he is," Baffert said. "I didn't want to risk it and Mr. (owner Ahmed) Zayat didn't want to risk it.

"I've had horses scratch close to a race but this is probably the most disappointing. He was something special, I haven't had a colt like this in a long time. It's a pretty tough pill to swallow, but he's going to be OK. The timing is just a killer. It was tough."

Baffert said the foot was responding to treatment Tuesday but that there was "no way" he could train the colt the way he needed to into the Juvenile.

With American Pharoah out, the odds have been adjusted to make Daredevil, the Grade I Champagne Stakes winner, the 5-2 morning-line favorite.

"It's part of the business that knocks you down to the ground," Baffert said. "He's never had a bad day. It's sickening. When I saw him yesterday I was hoping, well maybe. ... I have had a few foot bruises that get better in a couple days. But when you have something like that in this caliber of race, you cannot even think about it. I didn't want to take that chance."

American Pharoah has won two of his three career starts. He broke his maiden in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity, winning by 43/4 lengths on Sept. 3 and most recently took the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita by 31/4 lengths on Sept. 27.

"Just the way he's trained, some horses are born freaky like that," Baffert said. "It hasn't really sunk in yet that he's out. It's nothing career-ending but the timing is really bad."

Shared Belief, V. E. Day work for Classic

Unbeaten champion Shared Belief put in his final serious move in advance of the Breeders' Cup Classic, working 4 furlongs in 52.40 seconds at Golden Gate Fields on Tuesday.

The morning-line favorite for the Classic, Shared Belief passed his only Santa Anita test in his most recent start, the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes on Sept. 27.

"After the work, Russell (jockey Baze) said it was awesome," trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. "He said there is a lot left in the tank."

V. E. Day, upset winner of the Grade I Travers Stakes, also worked toward his expected start in the Classic when he drilled 4 furlongs in :48.60 at Santa Anita on Tuesday.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, V. E. Day is coming into the Classic off a sixth-place finish in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 27.

Handsome Mike out of Dirt Mile

Handsome Mike was declared out of the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile on Tuesday.

Sharla Rae Sanders, assistant to trainer Leandro Mora, said the 5-year-old graded stakes winner "just wasn't 100 percent and (owner Paul) Reddam wants to do what's best for him."

Handsome Mike was 30-1 on the morning line for the Dirt Mile and is the stablemate of defending Dirt Mile winner Goldencents.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments