With just days to go before the “Run for fhe Roses,” Kentucky Derby contender Hoppertunity was withdrawn from the big race. According to a Brisnet report, Hoppertunity will not run in the 140th Kentucky Derby due to an injury to one of the horse’s front feet.
Hoppertunity’s trainers reportedly noticed a bruise on the horse on Wednesday before the horse’s pre-race training. The same injury was noticed on Thursday and Hoppertunity’s owners the decided to pull the horse from the race. According to Brisnet, Hoppertunity is now being examined at an equine hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.
Hoppertunity’s trainer, Bob Baffert, said that the decision was made to ensure the horse is ready for the Preakness Stakes later this month. He believes that the injury might have been sustained during training on Monday, when the horse worked out on a very wet track at Churchill Downs. He also stated that Hoppertunity is “fine” and that the vet check-up is simply a precaution to make sure the injury isn’t anything more serious than a foot bruise.
Baffert’s stables are well-known for training winning thoroughbreds. Baffert-trained horses have won three Kentucky Derby races over the past two decades and five Preakness Stakes races.
Owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman, Hoppertunity was one of the favorites going into Saturday’s big race. The horse was seeing 6 to 1 odds on Wednesday, the second favorite behind California Chrome, the horse that beat Hoppertunity by over five lengths in last month’s Santa Anita Derby.
Wicked Strong will now be the second favorite among Kentucky Derby contenders on Saturday with current odds of 6 to 1. Other horses favored as strong contenders include Samraat, Danza, and Intense Holiday.
Hoppertunity’s removal from the race allows Pablo del Monte to enter the Kentucky Derby. If Pablo del Monte’s owners enter the horse into the race, it will run at 50 to 1 odds.
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