LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bob Baffert is down to one horse for the Kentucky Derby after early 6-1 second choice Hoppertunity was scratched Thursday because of a sore left front foot. The colt was to have been ridden Saturday by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.
"Bad news travels fast," Baffert said outside his barn, where onlookers gathered as word spread around Churchill Downs. "The horse is OK. He's just not 100 percent."
Baffert first noticed signs that something wasn't quite right on Wednesday, when Hoppertunity took a few steps. The inside quarter of his left foot was sore, so part of his shoe was cut off. As the colt walked to warm up, he didn't appear bothered. But Baffert decided to scratch him anyway.
Wicked Strong, the colt named for the victims of last year's Boston Marathon bombings, replaced Hoppertunity as the early second choice at 6-1 behind 5-2 California Chrome.
Arkansas Derby winner Danza and Intense Holiday were installed as the co-third choices at 8-1. Tapiture was made the fifth choice at 12-1. The odds for Candy Boy were lowered to 15-1 from 20-1. Louisiana Derby winner Vicar's in Trouble, to be ridden by Rosie Napravnik, dropped to 20-1 from 30-1.
Napravnik will serve a four-day suspension after the Derby. Churchill Downs stewards punished the jockey for her role in the disqualification of Bayern from first to second in Saturday's Derby Trial after Napravnik and Bayern made contact with Embellishing Bob in the final furlong.
Hoppertunity's scratch moved also-eligible Pablo Del Monte into the maximum 20-horse field. However, the 50-1 shot would have to start from the No. 20 post position. It wasn't immediately known whether Pablo Del Monte's owners want to start under that condition.
Untapable Oaks favorite
Untapable should feel right at home in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks. She is undefeated in two previous races at Churchill Downs, and is the early 4-5 favorite for Friday's 140th running of the nation's richest race for 3-year-old fillies.