Cairo Prince is the latest horse to withdraw from the Kentucky Derby due to injury. The specifics of the injury aren’t known at this time but according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin he first became aware of an issue with Cairo Prince’s left front ankle in training earlier this week. Since he’d had some foot issues in the past that was the original concern but an X-ray revealed no damage there.
Making the announcement of Cairo Prince’s withdrawal from the May 4 Kentucky Derby on Saturday morning McLaughlin’s primary concern was about the horse’s welfare:
“This is the toughest day in my career as a trainer to have to make this announcement. All the owners are understanding; hopefully the horse is fine.”
McLaughlin indicated that X rays revealed no hoof problems but was unable to speculate as to what the problem might be, repeatedly indicating that noted equine surgeon Larry Bramlage would be working with Cairo Prince trying to figure that out. He did refer to concerns about surgery and ‘infection’ at several points during his comments and his conclusion made it sound like it could be potentially serious, threatening the horse’s career:
“He’s not missed a day of training since September. Hopefully we still have a horse and he’s fine. I hope it’s not too serious and there’s no infection and we’re okay for later because he’s a damn nice horse It’s a very sad day. For all the owners…it’s so sad and so tough. All my staff and all my family…it’s the toughest day of my career as a trainer.”
Cairo Prince impressed early in the year winning the Holy Bull Stakes in decisive fashion to become a highly touted Kentucky Derby contender. His stock to a hit with a disappointing fourth place finish in the Florida Derby and his developed was further marred by setbacks in training caused by nagging foot issues. Following the major Kentucky Derby prep races Cairo Prince was stuck ‘on the bubble’ but a couple of weeks ago it became apparent that he’d have enough points to make the field.
With Cairo Prince out it does open up Kentucky Derby possibilities for the Todd Pletcher trained colt Vinceremos. Vinceremos won the Sam F. Davis at Tampa but had a very poor outing in the Blue Grass Stakes, finishing dead last. Pletcher has indicated that he wants to evaluate Vinceremos’ training before making any decision about a Derby bid.