Epiglottis Issue Knocks Forbidden Kingdom Out of Derby

MyRacehorse.com and Spendthrift Farm’s grade 2 winner Forbidden Kingdom will miss the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs due to what is believed to be an epiglottis issue, Joe Moran of MyRacehorse confirmed April 10.

“Trainer Richard Mandella has taken him off the Derby (trail),” said Moran, the operation’s West Coast racing manager. “He’s going to get the epiglottis further inspected to just confirm the issue and what we’re exactly dealing with.”

Forbidden Kingdom, a son of American Pharoah , faded to finish last of 6 after setting the pace in the April 9 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1). He was ranked 15th on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 50 points heading into the race, earned from his victory in the March 5 San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park. One start prior, Forbidden Kingdom defeated Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1) winner Pinehurst and the promising McLaren Vale in the Jan. 29 San Vicente Stakes (G2) over the same track.

Trainer Brian Lynch said he is still mulling over his options with Classic Causeway after the Giant’s Causeway colt finished 11th in last week’s Curlin Florida Derby Presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale (G1).

“He’s got enough points to get in any time we want to get in,” Lynch said of the Derby Sunday afternoon. “So we are just going to take our time with him and make sure everything is right, and not just get over ambitious to be running a horse in the Derby for the sake of running a horse in the Derby.”

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Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper’s Classic Causeway, 11th on the Leaderboard, earned a combined 66 points from victories in the Feb. 12 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) and the March 12 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2), as well as a runner-up finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) and a third in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1 ) last year.

Trainer Steve Asmussen was on hand at Keeneland Sunday afternoon to relay plans for his charge Morello which were also uncertain after the Classic Empire colt finished sixth in Saturday’s Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by Resorts World Casino (G2) after hitting the gate at the break and finding himself in the back of the pack early.

“(Morello) is scheduled to depart Belmont for Churchill tomorrow afternoon,” the trainer said. “He’s going to go to Churchill and train and we’ll see how he does over the surface and make a decision from there.”

Morelo is currently 17th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 50 points earned in his March 5 Gotham Stakes (G3) victory.


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