UAE Derby winner Thunder Snow bucked out of the starting gate and was immediately pulled up in the opening moments of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
The Irish-bred colt broke a step slow out of the gate and then started bucking under jockey Christophe Soumillon, who pulled him up a few seconds later. Thunder Snow was corralled almost immediately by an outrider and jogged along the rail as the other 19 contenders in the race headed into the first turn.
Dr. Keith Latson, the on-call veterinarian at Churchill Downs, said after the race that Thunder Snow galloped “very comfortably” back to the paddock area after his rough start.
There, he was examined by Dr. Jennifer Kaak.
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“She found no injuries on the leg,” Latson said. “So the horse was allowed to walk back to the barn under his own power, and he did so comfortably.”
Thunder Snow — winner of the UAE Derby — went off at 16-1 odds and was the only contender Saturday to race overseas before coming to the Kentucky Derby.
His troubled day at Churchill Downs extends a dubious streak for UAE Derby runners. Thunder Snow was the 13th horse from that prep race to advance to the Kentucky Derby, and none of those contenders has ever finished better than fifth on Derby Day.
The last European-born Derby winner was Tomy Lee in 1959.
Owner Gary West will appeal a judge’s decision to dismiss his lawsuit challenging the disqualification, making Country House the winner. West said a judge’s decision puts Kentucky’s stewards above the law.