Arnaldo Monge and trainer Rey Hernandez’s Finnick the Fierce (Dialed In), a 50-1 shot on the morning-line for the GI Kentucky Derby, has been scratched from the 1 1/4-mile classic.
The one-eyed gelding, third in the GI Arkansas Derby, was seventh last out in the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland July 11.
“Because he’s blind on the right eye, he carries himself a little funny,” Monge said. “And we always knew that. But ever since he arrived, the vets have been keeping an eye on the horse and I’m telling Rey, ‘Well, they’re concerned about this’ and there might be a legitimate reason, but a regular vet doesn’t seem to think so. So we’re always trying to do the best for the horse so we made the decision [to scratch] because we don’t want to go tomorrow and we’re all excited and then he gets scratched at the post. So we always said this is a horse for the long term. It was an honor to be selected [for the Derby], but at the end of the day the most important thing is the horse. Maybe we are missing something I don’t know, but I think the plan is to do more diagnostics on him and if everything is OK, we’ll run another day. What can we do, that’s life.
Monge continued, “I didn’t notice anything, but it was always the right front. That’s the same side as his eye and it’s always been that way. Rey rides the horse and said, ‘This horse is fine’ and that he didn’t feel anything. I don’t know. I know horse racing is under scrutiny all the time so I understand not trying to risk that publicity.
“We’ll have to see what comes out of this next diagnostic test. Just to be on the up and up, we’ll probably send him to Rood and Riddle and get an independent opinion on the horse. If all is good, [the GI Preakness S.] could be a consideration. Maybe the Breeders’ Cup. Rey wanted to turn him out after the Derby anyway, but it will depend on how this comes out. It’s a bummer but we’ll be back.”