By Steve Sherack
Shadwell homebred Haikal (Daaher), winner of the GIII Gotham S. and third-place finisher in the GII Wood Memorial, has been scratched from the GI Kentucky Derby due to an abscess in his left front. He is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.
“We put shoes back on him this morning and jogged him and he was still not 100%,” McLaughlin said. “After speaking with [Shadwell’s North American Vice President and General Manager] Rick Nichols, we decided to scratch. The horse always comes first. He will head home today to Shadwell and live to fight another day.
“It’s tough for the whole team, His Highness [Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum] and everyone involved, especially with being a homebred who was training so well. We’ll have to see what else is there is now after he recovers.”
It was also announced early Friday morning that Mike Smith will replace Corey Lanerie aboard Starlight Racing’s GIII Sunland Derby winner Cutting Humor (First Samurai). The Hall of Famer became available after the Wednesday evening defection of morning-line favorite Omaha Beach (War Front). Starlight will pay double jockey fees on purse earnings in the Derby.