Lord Miles, winner of the Wood Memorial, has been scratched from the Kentucky Derby after his trainer, Saffie Joseph Jr. was suspended from Churchill Downs indefinitely following the unexpected — and unexplained — death of two horses trained by Joseph over the past week at Churchill Downs.
“For the betterment of racing, the health and welfare of our equine athletes, and the safety of our jockeys, all horses trained by trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. are scratched effective immediately and until further notice. This action is taken after consultation with Mr. Joseph, and includes Lord Miles who was entered into the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby.”Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and Board of Stewards
Parents Pride collapsed and died after failing to finish a race on April 29, and Chasing Artie suffered a similar fate after finishing last, beaten 28 ¾ lengths, in a May 2 turf sprint. Investigators have yet to find any cause in the deaths of Joseph’s two horses. The horses were transported to the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for necropsy, as per standard practice at Kentucky racing facilities, but it’s not certain those examinations will yield many answers.
“Given the unexplained sudden deaths, we have reasonable concerns about the condition of his horses, and decided to suspend him indefinitely until details are analyzed and understood,” said Bill Mudd, President and Chief Operating Officer of CDI. “The safety of our equine and human athletes and integrity of our sport is our highest priority. We feel these measures are our duty and responsibility.”
Mandarin Hero has been drawn into the field to replace Lord Miles. He is the third Japanese runner in Derby 149 joining Derma Sotogake and Continuar. While the latter two belong to the elite Japan Racing Association (JRA), while Mandarin Hero represents the second-tier National Association of Racing (NAR) — however, Mandarin Hero has shown good form here in the US, nearly upsetting Practical Move in the Santa Anita Derby.
Practical Move Running a Fever
Practical Move has also been scratched due to a fever. Although the colt galloped in the morning and practiced standing in the starting gate, trainer Tim Yakteen reported his temperature started to rise around 11 a.m. Yakteen still has one horse in the Derby: Reincarnate. He took over that colt’s training from Bob Baffert, who is serving a two-year ban by Churchill Downs Inc. for a failed postrace doping test by Medina Spirit, the 2021 winner who was later disqualified.
The scratch moves Cyclone Mischief into the 20-horse field. He finished third in the Florida Derby and was second in the Fountain of Youth. He has two wins in seven career starts for trainer Dale Romans.
Hopefully all other contenders will stay healthy!