LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Post 13 proved to be unlucky for I Want Revenge, who became the first Kentucky Derby morning-line favorite to be scratched on the day of the race.
Trainer Jeff Mullins noticed a hot spot on his horse's left front ankle during a routine check at his backside barn. "We took the bandages off and watched the way he galloped. We checked the legs and detected (heat)," he said. The injury will likely keep the 3-year-old colt out of the Preakness Stakes on May 16.
"Your biggest dream is to get here," Mullins said at a morning news conference. "But the biggest nightmare is to get to race day and have to scratch. Right now, I don't think it's sunk in that much. I'm pretty disappointed."
Dr. Foster Northrop, attending veterinarian, said I Want Revenge jogged soundly but was slightly sore when flexing the ankle.
"We really didn't see much," he said. "It X-rayed perfectly normal. We ultrasounded it, and everything appears normal. At this point, we don't have a diagnosis for what's going on. But I commend the owner, Mr. (David) Lanzman, and Jeff for doing the right thing by the horse. It shows they're not getting swept in the Derby fever and making a poor judgment call."
"I've got these cards dealt and what we need to do. I can't look back at what might have been,'' said Lanzman, who on March 30 sold half-interest in the Wood Memorial and Gotham Stakes winner to IEAH Stables, owner of last year's winner, Big Brown. ''I've hired the best people in the world, so when the words came out, I looked at the doctors and said, 'Then, this is no debate. We'll fight another day.' "
The last major contender to scratch on Derby day since the morning line was put in the racing program in 1949 was second choice A.P. Indy in 1992. I Want Revenge is a grandson of A.P. Indy, who went on to win the Belmont Stakes.