Kentucky Derby: Art Collector out with minor foot ailment

Art Collector, the likely second wagering option Saturday in the 146th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, is out after suffering a minor foot ailment.

The bombshell of bad news spread quickly Tuesday morning at Churchill and beyond, shortly after Art Collector did not appear on the track. A subsequent Churchill release stated trainer Tommy Drury reported “the colt nicked the bulb of his left front heel with a hind hoof while galloping Monday at Churchill” and that because of strict medication rules, the horse could not be treated with an anti-inflammatory so close to the race.

Art Collector, bred and owned by Bruce Lunsford, had conquer all four of his races this year by open lengths, including the Blue Grass Stakes and Runhappy Ellis Park Derby.

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Drury said the injury is very minor and that he will be able to point Art Collector to the Oct. 3 Preakness at Pimlico.

The colt left Churchill already has returned to Drury’s main base at the Skylight training center just east of Louisville.

“He grabbed himself yesterday morning training,” said Drury. “It was still very sensitive this morning. When I took my thumbs to palpate the bulbs of his heels, you could still tell it was pinching him. I had to make a choice. Your horse has to always come first.

To run in a race of this caliber and trying to compete against the best 3-year-olds in this country, you’ve got to be 110 percent. To me, it wouldn’t have been fair to Art Collector, even though it’s slight, knowing that there’s an issue of any kind. I had a meeting yesterday afternoon with my veterinarians, Foster Northrup, Rick Costelle, had my blacksmith there. We discussed some different scenarios.

We maybe could have put a bar shoe on it and stabilized it and he would have been fine. But you’re going to the Kentucky Derby.

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