LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The racing gods did a number on the colt Black Onyx this week. On Wednesday, he drew the rail, which has not produced a Kentucky Derby winner since 1986. Trainer Kelly Breen scratched the 50-1 shot late Friday morning from Saturday's Derby because of a "non-displaced chip in his left front ankle."
Nineteen horses will run, and the stewards ruled that post position 1 will be empty, leaving Oxbow in post 2 as the farthest inside.
Breen told Churchill Downs' racing department he was withdrawing his horse at approximately 10:30 a.m., about 90 minutes too late for the only also-eligible, Fear the Kitten, to draw into the race. The scratch deadline was 9 a.m. for the also-eligible, who also would have been an extreme long shot.
Breen said he noticed swelling in the ankle after Black Onyx galloped Friday at about 5:45 a.m. "He was slightly lame, maybe 1 on a scale of 1 to 5," said Breen, who ordered two sets of X-rays that were completed at about 9:30.
"It couldn't be any worse timing," the New Jersey-based trainer said. "It's just a shame because the horse was training so well coming into this race.
"My family arrived last night around midnight, and we were all gung ho. They hadn't even taken the clothes out of the suitcases."
Breen said he didn't know if the injury would require surgery. He said he expected a prognosis from a veterinarian by late Friday afternoon.
"The horse has a minor limp. He's not three-legged," Breen said. "He's back at the barn, and I don't think he's feeling too bad because he just tried to bite me."
Joe Bravo would have ridden Black Onyx, who qualified for the Derby by winning the Grade III Spiral Stakes March 23 on Turfway Park's synthetic track. The son of Rock Hard Ten has a record of 3-for-5 with one second and earnings of $407,810 for Sterling Racing.
"I just feel really bad for the owner and for Kelly's whole team," Bravo said. "I'm just very thankful the horse is going to be OK. Maybe [discovering the injury] was a blessing in disguise."