Two in, two out, two fail grades Favorites derailed by draw
By MIKE FARRELL
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two was the prominent number as the field was set for the Kentucky Derby.
Two horses dropped out minutes before yesterday morning's entry deadline for Saturday's 1[0xbc]-mile race. Sunland Derby winner Endorsement broke his right front ankle after his workout and may have surgery today. Trainer Todd Pletcher opted not to run Interactif.
That opened the door for Backtalk and Make Music for Me to move into the final two spots in the full 20-horse field.
There were 22 horses entered, but Pleasant Prince and Setsuko didn't get in because they didn't have enough graded stakes earnings.
Two Derby horses will run with blinker changes. Lookin At Lucky, the 3-1 favorite, won't wear the vision-restricting hood while filly Devil May Care will add blinkers.
Endorsement's trainer Shannon Ritter knew something was wrong as the horse walked back to the barn.
"I didn't even notice it right away until we had been further down the road walking," said Ritter, denied a chance to become the first female trainer of a Derby winner. That opportunity now goes Alexis Barba whose Make Music for Me joined the field.
DRY FINAL WORKOUT FOR HOMEBOYKRIS
After several days of rain, the sun finally broke through yesterday.
That was the cue for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. to send Homeboykris out for his final Derby workout. Dutrow, winner of the 2008 Derby and Preakness with Big Brown, hates to drill horses on a wet track, and Churchill Downs has been a sea of mud since the weekend.
"I watched horses breeze on these terrible tracks for races like the Derby and the Kentucky Oaks and I can't believe it," Dutrow said. "It's beyond me. I could not bring myself to do it. It's dangerous. Why take a shot?"