Buddha out with injury; Derby field wide open

Saturday, May 4, 2002

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Buddha hung his head. So did trainer Jim Bond.

The handsome gray colt, one of the favorites for today's Kentucky Derby, was scratched with a bruised foot on the eve of the race and sadness replaced confidence and excitement at Barn 48.

"I always said if there was a bump we wouldn't do it, and there's a bump in the road," said a despondent Bond, who had hoped to saddle this first Derby starter. "It's very disappointing for my clients and myself, but Buddha will have another day,"

The Wood Memorial winner was the 5-1 co-second choice with Came Home on the morning line. Bond decided to pull out of the race after arriving at the barn and seeing his colt favoring his left front foot.

Buddha's jockey Pat Day said it was almost as if the horse new what it all meant.

"He sensed what was going on," said Day, who later picked up a Derby ride aboard George Steinbrenner's Blue Burner -- the Hall of Famer's 19th straight Derby mount. "He had his head down like 'I'm really sorry.' "

The scratch reminded fans of the shock and surprise of Derby favorite A.P. Indy being removed from the field due to injury on race day, 1992.

Despite Buddha's departure, the Derby remains wide-open with 19 3-year-olds running for the roses.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: