More changes came to the 145th Kentucky Derby lineup Friday, the day before the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.”
Another horse was officially scratched from the lineup Friday morning after a few days of speculation while a jockey is back in the race after his original ride was scratched due to health reasons.
Triple Crown winner back on a horse
Mike Smith rode Justify to the Triple Crown last year, becoming the oldest jockey to do so at age 52. He was set to ride Omaha Beach until the favored horse was scratched Wednesday afternoon due to a breathing issue. Surgery for the entrapped epiglottis was performed Thursday.
The jockey will now ride Cutting Humor, a 30-1 long shot who won the Sunland Derby in March.
— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 3, 2019
Corey Lanerie was announced as the horse’s rider Monday and will be paid the same winnings as Smith if he places.
Smith was inducted to the hall of fame in 2003 and is a two-time Kentucky Derby winner. He rode Giacomo, with 50-1 odds, to victory in 2005.
2nd horse scratched, leaving 19
Haikal is officially scratched from the Kentucky Derby, per an early morning news release from Churchill Downs.
Breaking: 11-Haikal to scratch from @KentuckyDerby (abscess left hoof). More to come. Field of 19 to break from gate in posts 2-20; program numbers of horses do not change.
— Churchill Downs PR (@DerbyMedia) May 3, 2019
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin announced Thursday morning it was a possibility because Haikal developed an abscess on his left front hoof.
McLaughlin told the Louisville Courier-Journal:
“We put shoes back on him this morning and jogged him and he was still not 100 percent. After speaking with (Shadwell Farm’s North American general manager) Rich Nichols, we decided to scratch. The horse always comes first.”
The race will go on with 19 horses instead of the typical 20. They will keep their program numbers and move into gates 2 through 20.
The horses will almost certainly be racing on a wet track yet again this year. The forecast calls for a 100 percent chance of rain Saturday.
More from Yahoo Sports: