The Kentucky Derby 2010 buildup is ready to begin and already, the 2010 Derby has its first game changer, even before the week of hype got started. Before today, the likely favorite of the race was Eskendereya, who had decisive wins at the Wood Memorial and Fountain of Youth. Although no horses could stop Eskendereya in recent months, his leg seems to have done a better job. Due to leg problems, the Kentucky Derby 2010 now must go on without Eskendereya, and without a favorite for the moment.
Eskendereya went out to practice at Churchill Downs yesterday, with a week to go before his Run for the Roses. But trainer Todd Pletcher, who was looking to win his first Derby in 24 tries with Eskendereya, noticed something ‘off’ with the horse, according to ABC News. When he checked the horse again today, he found swelling in his left front leg.
With no choice, Pletcher had to pull the 2010 Kentucky Derby favorite from the race, with six days to spare. Fortunately, Eskendereya’s life isn’t in danger, as they caught the injury before it got too serious. Yet his career is in danger, and it doesn’t appear he will be back for the Preakness or Belmont.
The Kentucky Derby 2010 will now miss its preliminary favorite, just like last year’s race. However, this is a little different from last year, since 2009 top choice I Want Revenge was scratched on race day, not a week before. Yet even before that, another early favorite, Quality Road, was scratched around this time last year.
Scratches before the Run for the Roses are becoming more common lately. Of course, so have more serious injuries, but the 2010 Kentucky Derby still hopes to avoid that. With the final week just starting, however, at least one or two horses may wind up getting scratched, if recent history holds.
Now that Eskendereya is gone, the Kentucky Derby 2010 must find a new favorite, and hope that he can run on Saturday. Looking at Lucky seems set to fill that void, with three-time champion Bob Baffert training him. Still, being the early favorite at Churchill Downs is often anything but lucky – both during the race, and now before the race.
The remaining contenders will now be under greater scrutiny, as they hope to make it to Derby day. This is not the ideal way for Kentucky Derby 2010 buildup to start, but fans hope the worst of it is out of the way.
ABC News- “Ky. Derby Favorite Eskendereya out With Leg Issue”
New York Times- “Derby Favorite Scratched After Leg Injury”