Yesterday the ‘also eligible’ horse for the Kentucky Derby, Pablo Del Monte, got into the field when Bob Baffert’s Hoppertunity scratched from the race with a foot injury. On Friday it was Pablo Del Monte that was scratched with his connections indicating that they wanted to make the ‘prudent choice’ and point to the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes.
Trainer Wesley Ward owns 25% of Pablo Del Monte with the remaining shares owned by an Ireland based group. On Thursday Ward expressed his enthusiasm about running Pablo Del Monte in the Derby but indicated that he would have to defer to the rest of the ownership group:
“It’s amazing to have the opportunity to run. I own 25 percent of the horse. With my 25 percent there is nothing I’d love better, with a horse that I bred, than to run. But I have to go with what my partners want to do, and respect it.”
Even then Ward seemed to have an inkling of his partners’ decision. He candidly said that they didn’t expect to get into the race and had already made plans to run in the Preakness thinking that the time off between races was ideal for Pablo Del Monte:
“The original plan, when we weren’t in the race, was to go to the Preakness because we didn’t think we’d have this decision to make. We felt the spacing of five weeks between races was ideal and that everything looked good. But I’m hopeful they’ll want to run in the Derby.”
On Friday, they made that decision official. They were also concerned about Pablo Del Monte starting from post #20 which is a significant disadvantage in the eyes of most horsemen. There was some that suggested Pablo Del Monte’s speed would somewhat negate the disadvantage of being on the outside rail, but at this point that speculation is purely academic. The Kentucky Derby will run tomorrow afternoon at Louisville’s Churchill Downs race track with a field of 19 horses following Pablo Del Monte’s withdrawal. The Preakness Stakes will take place on May 17 at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, Maryland.