LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Another day, another ailment for a Kentucky Derby colt.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Thursday morning that Haikal has an abscess in his left front foot, which could keep him out of Saturday’s race at Churchill Downs.
The announcement came only 14 hours after Omaha Beach, who would have been the 4-1 morning-line favorite, was withdrawn from the Derby because of a throat problem.
McLaughlin said Haikal’s problem was discovered Wednesday morning and that the foot was soaked all day in a tub filled with water and Epsom salts. McLaughlin said the foot had improved by Thursday morning but not enough to train him over the track.
“It’s going to be a quick fix and a quick recovery, but it may not be quick enough,” said McLaughlin, a longtime Garden City resident who never has won the Derby. “He has to be able to train [Friday], and if he can’t, then he’ll be scratched by 8 o’clock Friday morning.”
McLaughlin said he empathized with Omaha Beach’s trainer, Richard Mandella, and his owner, Rick Porter.
“I feel terrible for them, they’re good people,” he said. “That’s really tough when you have the favorite.
“We’ll get to work on Haikal and see what happens.”