El Kabeir was scratched from the Kentucky Derby due to a foot injury and as a result will be taking some time off. The Zayat Stables owned horse will be spending a few weeks at the Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center (KESMRC) in Versailles, Kentucky for what his connections are calling a ‘re-freshening’.
The El Kabeir soap opera began on Friday when the media started asking questions after the horse didn’t show up at the track for his morning jog. Owner Ahmed Zayat reported that the horse had ‘taken a few bad steps’ and didn’t appear to be sound. The working plan was to let the horse rest throughout the day on Friday and reassess things on the morning of the Kentucky Derby. Instead, the announcement was made in early evening that El Kabeir had been scratched.
It was finally determined that the horse had an abscess on his front left foot. Trainer John Terranova said on Sunday that El Kabeir’s connections would be ‘taking some time to figure things out’: “It looks better. We’re just soaking that foot, working on it, but he wasn’t going to be 100 percent in time. It actually was a little bit worse yesterday afternoon than this morning. So we’ll just see. We’ll just kind of regroup, let the dust settle and figure things out.”
There was at least some hope that El Kabeir would heal quickly according to Terranova: “Sometimes those things respond very quickly. It just depends how they’re going to go. Sometimes they last days and days. And it was so fresh you just don’t know the extent of it. Sometimes they get worse before they get better, especially if it’s like an abscess and starts to build before you draw it out. And sometimes when you do draw it out, then you’ve got a soft spot anyways and it’s a little tender. Like popping a blister, it can be a little raw.”
The hope now is that El Kabeir will be sound for the late summer races. Barring anything unforeseen and given the nature of his injury his connections are optimistic.