LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The Derby lost another horse Friday when Haikal was scratched because of an infection in his left front foot. That leaves the field at 19. Haikal was down to be ridden in the Derby by Jamaican born Rajiv Maragh.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Haikal was being treated for an abscess and didn't train Thursday or Friday. That left McLaughlin no choice but to scratch the Gotham Stakes winner before the deadline Friday morning.
"We put shoes back on him this morning and jogged him and he was still not 100%," McLaughlin said. "The horse always comes first."
Haikal, a 30-1 shot, had his infected foot soaked in Epsom salts to reduce the accumulation of pus. The problem should clear shortly, but the colt ran out of time to prepare for the 1¼-mile Derby.
Owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, Haikal will return to Shadwell Farm in nearby Lexington to recover.
With the scratch, the rail will remain empty and Derby horses will break from posts 2 through 20.