The biggest Kentucky Derby story of the day was the injury to Wood Memorial winner Toby’s Corner that’ll keep him out of the ‘Run For The Roses’. His loss was Derby Kitten’s gain, however, and Toby’s Corner’s withdrawal allowed the #21 horse in graded stakes winnings to sneak into the field.
Toby’s Corner had won 4 of his last 6 starts including an upset in the Wood Memorial where he outdueled previously undefeated Uncle Mo. Unfortunately he came up lame after a workout on Sunday and was sent to equine veteraniarian Dr. Dean Richardson for further examination. The initial diagnosis was optimistic in the ‘big picture’–Dr. Richardson catagorized it as being ‘simply lame’ and ranked it a 2 on a scale of 1 to 5–but Toby’s Corner’s connections had no option but to scratch him from the Derby.
Richardson, best known for his work on the legendary 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, re-evaluated Toby’s Corner on Tuesday and performed a nuclear bone scan which revealed no definite injury. More tests are scheduled for the next couple of days. Trainer Graham Motion is obviously disappointed about the timing so close to the Kentucky Derby:
“I’m at a bit of a loss; I think Dean (Dr. Richardson) is, too. He was still off this morning, and obviously we couldn’t get on the van, even though we couldn’t see anything wrong.”
Motion still has a horse entered in the Derby–that’s Spiral Stakes winner Animal Kingdom. Up until now he wasn’t considered a favorite to win but with so many of the top contenders out of the race the 2011 Kentucky Derby is definitely a wide open affair. That could provide the opportunity of a lifetime for Derby Kitten and his connections. It could also provide a ‘feel good’ story should he pull the upset victory–Derby Kitten is owned by 75 year old native Kentuckian with only two previous entrants. He demonstrated a quick wit with his reaction to the news:
“I’m certainly glad to get in the Derby. I’m 75 years old. It’s on my bucket list, and I figure I got maybe only another 20 to 25 Derbies in front of me.”
Jockey Javier Castellano will man the reins aboard Derby Kitten on Saturday.