UPDATE: El Kabeir has been scratched from the Kentucky Derby as of 4:30 PM Friday.
The twenty horse Kentucky Derby field could be reduced to nineteen on Saturday morning. The connections of El Kabeir are reportedly mulling over their options after their horse began to show signs of a foot injury. It doesn’t look like anything serious but it could be bad enough to keep El Kabeir out of the Kentucky Derby.
It became obvious that something was amiss on Friday morning when El Kabeir remained in his stall instead of coming out for his usual jog. Owner Ahmed Zayat said that the horse took a few steps and ‘was not sound’ and ‘took a few bad steps’. As of Friday afternoon, El Kabeir was still in the race as trainer John Terranova and his staff worked with the horse. The working plan is to reassess the situation in the morning and make a final decision then. According to owner Zayat, El Kabeir is not being treated with medication. If he looks sound in the morning, he’ll go to the track for a jog and if he doesn’t show signs of injury will stay in the race. Otherwise, he’ll be scratched.
That wouldn’t come in time to give Tale of Verve a spot in the race. Tale of Verve was the #22 horse entered on Wednesday and was given ‘also eligible’ status along with Frammento. Frammento made it into the race after Todd Pletcher’s Stanford scratched. Unfortunately for Tale of Verve, the entries were locked at 9:00 AM Friday with the start of betting. That means if El Kabeir does scratch Saturday morning the race will go with 19 horses and the #7 position in the starting gate will be empty. Not that the horse racing world will miss much without Tale of Verve in the field–he has one career win which came in a Maiden Special Weight last time out. He finished in the money three of the five times he raced prior to his first win but against very forgettable competition. He’s never been in a stakes race and just the fact that trainer Dallas Stewart raised eyebrows among horse racing enthusiasts. Daily Racing Form writer Jay Privland called the horse a ‘hopeless, absurd longshot’ to which DRF’s Mike Watchmaker responded that ‘absurd is too kind’.