Oct 28, 2014 1:50 PM

American Pharoah withdrawn from Breeders' Cup

The Associated Press

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) American Pharoah, who was the early 2-1 favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, was withdrawn Tuesday because of bruise in his left front foot.

Trainer Bob Baffert said an X-ray and ultrasound both came back clean. He doesn't believe the injury is career-threatening.

"Yesterday he wasn't 100 percent. He was a little bit off," a downcast Baffert said, adding that the horse appears to walk fine. "We're hopeful he'll be all right and you'll see him in the spring."

Owner Ahmed Zayat tweeted that he was "crushed" and "devastated" but couldn't take a chance "with a special colt like this."

Baffert said American Pharoah will have a full bone scan this week.

"We know what a great horse he is, how valuable he is," Baffert said. "I didn't want to risk it. Mr. Zayat didn't want to risk it."

American Pharoah was to be ridden by Victor Espinoza in Saturday's $2 million Juvenile at Santa Anita. A victory in the race would have made him the winter favorite for next year's Kentucky Derby. His sire, Pioneerofthe Nile, finished second to 50-1 shot Mine That Bird in the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

American Pharoah had a pair of Grade 1 wins in the FrontRunner Stakes and Del Mar Futurity by a combined eight lengths. He finished fifth in his career debut at Del Mar in August. His career earnings total $361,500.

"This is a morning when you get to the barn you want to vomit," Baffert said. "He was doing so great coming in here, looking so strong, and then something like that happens."

American Pharoah's withdrawal leaves Baffert with One Lucky Dane as his only entry in the 12-horse field for the 1 1/16-mile race. He won in 2008 with Midshipman and 2002 with Vindication.

The morning line was redone and Daredevil, trained by Todd Pletcher, was installed as the new 5-2 favorite.

In May, Baffert was forced to withdraw Hoppertunity three days before the Kentucky Derby, where he was the early 6-1 second choice, because of a sore left front foot.

"I've had to scratch other horses close to a race, but this is the most disappointing," Baffert said. "He's something special. I haven't had a colt like this in a long time."


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