LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- For the second consecutive day, a minor problem with a left front hoof forced a horse out of the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Mike Maker scratched Louisiana Derby winner International Star Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after trainer John Terranova II, a Syosset native, withdrew El Kabeir.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey co-own International Star, and their @Ramsey Farm Twitter feed said: "I am sad to announce that International Star has a quarter crack in his hoof and will be scratched from the Kentucky Derby.'"
A quarter crack, a common injury among thoroughbreds, is a vertical split in the hoof wall at the widest part of the hoof, on the side between the toe and the heel.
Ken Ramsey said the state veterinarian did not like the way International Star was jogging early Saturday. Ramsey said his blacksmith removed a shoe, and there "definitely was some heat on the inside quarter of the left front foot. Something's brewing in there, probably an abscess. There's nothing major wrong with the horse whatsoever. We think we'll probably have him ready to come back for the Preakness, but time will tell.'"
International Star's defection left the Derby field at 18, two below the maximum. After El Kabeir was scratched Friday, Churchill Downs starter Scott Jordan, in conjunction with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's stewards, decided to leave post 1 empty to give the horses on the inside more room to maneuver.
Ramsey, a 79-year-old Kentuckian, says if he ever won a Derby it would be inscribed on his tombstone. "It's a devastating blow to come this far," he said. "I thought I had a decent shot at winning the race. But it's happened to A.P. Indy [1992) and to other horses. It's bad news for the owners and the family that pinned so many hopes on finally getting to the other side of the infield," meaning the location of the winner's circle.