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Belmont Stakes: Classic Empire out with abscess in right foot

Classic Empire #5 ridden by Julien Leparoux leads

Classic Empire #5 ridden by Julien Leparoux leads the field around the fourth turn during the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 20, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. Credit: Getty Images / Matt Hazlett

The colt who would have been the favorite for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes will not be running.

Trainer Mark Casse announced Wednesday morning that Preakness runner-up Classic Empire has an abscess in his right front foot. The same ailment in the same foot sidelined him in February.

“This morning his foot is bugging him again,” Casse told “When we came in this morning, he could hardly get around.”

The winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile arrived at Belmont Park on Tuesday afternoon. He had been training at Casse’s Churchill Downs base.

Casse said that last year’s 2-year-old champion would be given time off and be pointed to the Haskell Invitational on July 30 at Monmouth Park.

Norman Casse, his father’s assistant trainer, said: “It’s unfortunate, but we still have a lot of big races to look forward to.”


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