Toby's Corner drops out of 2011 Kentucky Derby with lameness in leg

May 04, 2011|By Sandra McKee, The Baltimore Sun

Toby's Corner, the 3-year-old that upset favorite Uncle Mo in the Wood Memorial last month, spent Tuesday at New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania. Doctors there are trying to figure out what caused the lameness that forced trainer Graham Motion to withdraw him from Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

"This is not one of my best days," said Motion, who trains at Fair Hill. "He worked on Sunday and looked very smart. But Monday he was not 100 percent in his left hind. It was nothing obvious, but he would have had to get on a van [Tuesday] morning to go to Louisville and I wasn't going to do that with him not being sound."

Motion said if his horse had already been at Churchill Downs in Louisville it would not have made any difference because he would have had to have made the decision about the entry Wednesday and that wasn't enough time for the horse to recover.

"This is pretty common, to find a lame horse in your barn the day after a work," Motion said. "It's just terrible timing. If it wasn't this race, we'd just walk him a couple days and re-evaluate. But because it's this horse and this race we sent him to New Bolton so Dr. Dean Richardson could have a look at him. Dean put him through a bone scan and there was nothing obvious there."

The trainer said he is waiting for results from other tests before deciding on a future game plan.

"Best-case scenario is that there is nothing specifically wrong and he works it out," Motion said. "If that's the case, and he gets over whatever it is quickly, we'll consider the Preakness. But right now, we're taking it day-by-day pending what we hear from Dean."

Motion still has Animal Kingdom, a 3-year-old owned by Team Valor, who earned his way to the Derby by winning $300,000 in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. The chestnut colt has won two of four starts with two seconds for $341,900 in career earnings. His status was a little iffy last week because of his lack of experience on dirt tracks, but Motion said the horse worked well at Churchill Saturday and he is pleased with the performance.

"We're fortunate to still have him in the race," Motion said. "But I feel very bad for the Cotters [Dianne and Julian, who bred and own Toby's Corner]. It's a huge blow for them. They drove up from Florida and arrived in Louisville [Tuesday]."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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