Bob Baffert said that he planned to take a ‘wait and see’ attitude with Rebel Stakes winner Cupid after he finished a disappointing tenth in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby. He wanted to ship Cupid to Kentucky and go from there. Cupid was shipped to Kentucky but the decision about his immediate future was made for Baffert after discovering that Cupid was suffering from a entrapped epiglottis. The epiglottis is “a flap of cartilage at the root of the tongue, which is depressed during swallowing to cover the opening of the windpipe”.
Cupid shipped to Kentucky with Arkansas Derby winner Creator and third place finisher Whitmore, both of whom are being pointed to the Kentucky Derby. They went to Churchill Downs, Cupid was taken to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky where he was to have surgery today. The good news is that doctors are expecting a full recovery with only a minor disruption in his racing career. In fact, Baffert has already said that he’ll target the Preakness Stakes for Cupid’s next race. For now, he’ll be vanned to Churchill Downs later this week and after a bit of downtime resume training with the rest of the horses in Baffert’s barn.
The Arkansas Derby was the last race awarding Kentucky Derby qualification points which means that the field will begin to have more clarity in the next couple of weeks. Now that Cupid is out it allows Mo Tom to get in. He’s now in the 20th position leaving Fellowship ‘on the bubble’ in 21st. Baffert’s only Kentucky Derby entry will be Mor Spirit who has been based at Santa Anita. He is the winner of the Robert B. Lewis Stakes earlier this year and runner up in the San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby. Mor Spirit is shipping to Churchill Downs later this week and will resume training. Baffert’s only other (very) outside Derby possibility is a horse named Collected who won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday. The trainer realizes that at #27 the horse won’t get in ‘unless the race falls apart’ with a number of contenders withdrawing.