Social Inclusion won’t ship to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky this week which effectively ends his bid for a starting spot in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. The announcement was made by his ownership group, Rontos Racing Stables, earlier this morning. Social Inclusion was #22 in Kentucky Derby qualification points at the time of his withdrawal meaning that he would have needed two horses ahead of him to withdraw to secure a spot in the race.
The defection of Social Inclusion means that the ‘Curse of Apollo’ will stand for another year. Social Inclusion didn’t race at all as a two year old there hasn’t been a Kentucky Derby winner unraced as a two year old since Apollo in 1882. Apollo is the only horse ever to win without racing as a two year old and it’s been 132 years since. The Bob Baffert trained Bayern was also unraced as a two year old and he ended his Derby bid last weekend by running in the Derby Trials.
Social Inclusion’s only graded stakes experience was a decent third place finish in the Wood Memorial. His withdrawal moves Big Bazinga to 22nd in the Derby qualification point standing and now he’s two positions out of securing a spot in the race. Big Bazinga is already training at Churchill Downs alongside other Derby contenders but will likely end up entering another race on Saturday’s card. The #21 horse on the qualification chart, Pablo Del Monte, will ship from Keeneland to Churchill Downs tomorrow. Trainer Wesley Ward indicated that a horse has to be on the grounds at Churchill Downs to be considered for ‘also eligible’ consideration. Two ‘also eligible’ horses will be named when entries and post positions are finalized on Wednesday morning. If a qualified horse withdraws from a field before Friday morning an ‘also eligible’ horse can take his place.
The Kentucky Derby is the first race of the Triple Crown series followed by the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. The race will take place at Louisville’s Churchill Downs race course on Saturday, May 4th. Post positions and the ‘morning line’ betting odds will be released on Wednesday afternoon.