Art Collector, one of the major favorites in Kentucky Derby 146, is out the race with a minor foot issue, trainer Tommy Drury said this morning.
Drury told Jennie Rees of the Kentucky HBPA that Art Collector would not be entered when the field is set Tuesday morning. He said the colt nicked the bulb of his left front heel with a hind hoof while galloping Monday at Churchill Downs. Because of horse racing strict medication rules, the horse could not be treated with an anti-inflammatory this close to the race.
Drury said that Art Collector will be pointed to the :Preakness Stakes four weeks after the Derby.
Art Collector was returned to Drury’s Skylight training base in Oldham County yesterday morning, arriving about 8:20.
“He grabbed himself yesterday morning training,” Drury told Rees. “It was still very sensitive this morning. When I took my thumbs to palpate the bulbs of his heels, you could still tell it was pinching him. I had to make a choice.
"Your horse has to always come first. To run in a race of this caliber and trying to compete against the best 3-year-olds in this country, you’ve got to be 110 percent. To me, it wouldn’t have been fair to Art Collector, even though it’s slight, knowing that there’s an issue of any kind.
"I had a meeting yesterday afternoon with my veterinarians, Foster Northrup, Rick Costelle, had my blacksmith there. We discussed some different scenarios. We maybe could have put a bar shoe on it and stabilized it and he would have been fine. But you’re going to the Kentucky Derby. First and foremost, as the trainer, it’s my responsibility to be the voice for the horse. That’s just not fair to him. He’s been too good to us, and we’re going to make sure he’s taken care of first.”
Drury said Art Collector will be all right and probably already is.
“I knew after we gave him a little anti-inflammatory this morning that he’d be perfectly sound,” he said. “That’s not surprising at all. And that’s what we wanted to see. We wanted to see him respond well to it, and it looks like that’s what happened. On to Baltimore.”
Owner-breeder Bruce Lunsford was philosophical about the disappointment.
“I think he was going to put a big race out. But the last thing you want to do is take any chances and a mile and a quarter is a long way to go on something that is grabbing him a bit," Lunsfor said. "I think we made the right call. I think everyone is relieved. I just think we all came to the same conclusion.
"It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I’ve been around the business a long time, and there is always another race around the corner as long as you let the horse get you there.”
Edited by Dick Downey
Photo by Coady Photography