Practical Move (fever), Lord Miles (ban) among three Kentucky Derby scratches
Three horses were scratched from the Kentucky Derby for very different reasons.
Santa Anita Derby winner Practical Move was scratched from the race on Saturday because he developed a slight fever after training Thursday.
“He spiked a temp on us,” trainer Tim Yakteen said. “He might have a bug and was reacting to it. But you have to do the right thing by the horse — that’s our focus. He’s such a gifted horse.”
Later in the day, Lord Miles also was scratched after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and Churchill Downs banned horses trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. following the death of two of his horses in the first few days of racing at the track.
The Board of Stewards issued the following statement.
“For the betterment of racing, the health and welfare of our equine athletes, and the safety of our jockeys, all horses trained by trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. are scratched effective immediately and until further notice. This action is taken after consultation with Mr. Joseph, and includes Lord Miles who was entered into the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby.”
Lord Miles was 30-1 on the morning line. With the two scratches, Cyclone Mischief and Santa Anita Derby runner-up Mandarin Hero were added to the race.
Also scratched was the Japanese horse Continuar, who was 50-1 on the morning line.
“After evaluating the colt upon my arrival, I feel that he has not been able to reach the peak fitness required to take on a race as tough as the Kentucky Derby,” trainer Yoshido Yahagi said.
Four horses have died at Churchill Downs since last Thursday. On Saturday, Parents Pride, a 4-year-old filly trained by Joseph, was pulled up in the stretch and collapsed and died on the track. On Tuesday, Chasing Artie, a 5-year-old gelding for Joseph, collapsed near the winner’s circle after running a race. Both horses are owned by Ken Ramsey.
Practical Move had vaulted to the top of the Southern California 3-year-old list with a 2½-length win in the San Felipe after winning the Los Alamitos Futurity. He was then the even-money favorite for the Santa Anita Derby and won by a nose over Mandarin Hero.
Yakteen first thought something was wrong Thursday morning when the colt wasn’t eating with his normal intensity.
“When he didn’t jump into the feed tub, we temped him and started watching,” Yakteen said. “At first it was on the high normal side of 101. And then it was 101.8 and climbing. Once you get to 102 you’ve got concerns."
Yakteen said the normal temperature of a horse is between 100 and 100.4.
Owners Pierre and Leslie Amestoy declined to comment, citing the state of their emotions.
“They are devastated,” Yakteen said. “It’s been such a wonderful journey, and it’s just very difficult.”
The trainer said the horse would return later in the year.
Yakteen also will start Reincarnate in the Derby. He won the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita and finished third in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby.
The deadline to scratch a horse and be replaced by another is 9 a.m. Friday.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.