Florida Derby Winner Constitution to Miss Kentucky Derby

by | 04.16.2014 | 9:37am
Constitution battles Wildcat Red to the wire in the Florida Derby

Constitution, a leading Triple Crown hopeful off his win in last month's $1 million Florida Derby (G1), will be forced to miss the May 3rd Kentucky Derby (G1) and the rest of the 2014 Triple Crown due to the discovery of a hairline fracture in his front right cannon bone on Monday.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the undefeated son of leading sire Tapit breezed a half mile in :50 3/5 on Sunday at Palm Meadows training track in Boynton Beach, FL, and on Monday morning he was discovered to be a little off in his right front leg.

“This is one of the biggest disappointments of my career,” said Pletcher. “I really feel Constitution was our biggest chance to win the Kentucky Derby since Super Saver. My routine with all my horses is to jog them down the road, and I noticed he was slightly off (Monday). Dr. Yarborough took x-rays that revealed a slight hairline in his shin. Thankfully, it's nothing very serious, and Constitution will be back to 100% after a little time. The timing is just a real shame for everyone involved, but the Derby doesn't define a horse's career.”

Constitution will be shipped to WinStar Farm in Versailles, KY to rehabilitate, with the hopes of returning to training in 60 days and racing again in 2014. The talented bay colt is owned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables.

“While we are extremely disappointed to miss the Kentucky Derby, we're just as excited about the future of Constitution,” said Randy Gullatt, Twin Creeks Racing's general manager. “We think he's just scratching the surface of his talent.”

WinStar President & CEO Elliott Walden added: “Todd has done a tremendous job with Constitution and I can't wait to get him back for two reasons: firstly, he has so much to accomplish, and secondly, he is the most exciting stallion prospect of his generation.”

Constitution holds a perfect record of three wins from three starts this winter at Gulfstream Park, including his victory last out in the March 29th Florida Derby. Out of the Distorted Humor mare Baffled, he has earnings of $649,350 to date.

  • Dan Jividen

    This is too bad. It takes some of the luster off the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Constitution would have had a real shot. But the good news is that 60 days on the farm should set the colt up well for the fall championship races and for a tremendous four year old season. Constitution has the kind of pedigree that will only improve with age.

    • fb0252

      there is little good that I can think of concerning a TC trainer once again injuring a top prospect. Plecher on best info has dramatically improved the injury prevention aspect of his program of late (and, it was about time), and yet, we have this three year old put into the Florida Derby off of two races, raising the Q whether this should be permitted under the rules, given the risks to the sport. Same with Social Inclusion, Plecher’s Dunkirk who fractured crossing finish line of the Belmont, Rags to Riches and several other near miss 8Belles situations.

  • MyBigRed

    I feel bad for Constitution’s connections. This is the 2nd injury of a horse breezing at Palm Meadows in a month. Perhaps it is time to examine the dirt there ?? I hope & pray we don’t see anymore injuries occurring there, since it is an Awesome facility.

  • David

    It is unfortunate but with 3 lifetime starts a mile and a quarter in May? How did we get here?

  • realfan

    That’s why you can never have too many prospects!

  • jttf

    in the last three weeks, pletcher has 4 derby/oaks trail three year olds get sidelined. anchor down (shin), onlyforyou (condy frac), and havana (1/4 cracks). other gulfstream area three year olds include honor code, and top billing. wasnt there around three track records in march at GP ? stronach is in love with fast times.

  • jackmw

    Again we see the fragility of the breed and yet trainers continue to pound these immature critters as they chase racing’s holy grail. The second part of Walden’s statement (“he is the most exciting stallion prospect of his generation”) is exactly why we continue to see this fragility proliferate!

  • NYNick

    Stop running the horses so early, so fast and so long. These young horses need time to develop and for their bones to strengthen. Unfortunately in horse racing, the dollar rules and Pletcher has once again derailed the dream of an owner. Todd, you’re another Baffert.

    • betterthanmost

      Noooo……say it ain’t soooo….
      My boy Toddy is another Baffert.
      It breaks my heart.

  • Big Red

    It’s easy to blame Pletcher but he is only doing his job in an attempt to get these horses to the Derby.
    Aren’t the owners really to blame? They lay out big bucks to make sure EVERYTHING is done to get a front row seat at the big dance. If the owner was really worried about their horse being pushed early, they could easily make the call to skip the races until later in the 3 Y/O season.
    As with everything else in racing, it all comes down to the glory & money no matter what.

    • nu-fan

      And, yet, isn’t it usually (really always) the trainers that are the ones held to blame? Why is that? Oh, yeah, the owners are the ones with the money….

      • Shirleyvh

        I think its because the owners really don’t know horses. They just own them. It is up to the trainers to educate them. And yes, two and three year old racing is not in the interest of the breed.

        • RayPaulick

          If we gave out awards for dumb comments this one’s a winner!

  • Hopefieldstables

    “Todd has done a tremendous job with Constitution ………………… he
    has so much to accomplish………….. he is the most exciting stallion
    prospect of his generation.”

    WinStar President & CEO Elliott Walden (owner)

    There are so many things that are disturbing in that statement, I do not know where to start.

  • Smitty

    Oh those horrible synthetic tracks!!Miss them already?

  • Tinky

    “…the Derby doesn’t define a horse’s career.”

    Ironic that the very trainer of Super Saver, a horse whose only other stakes win was a Grade II against forgettable opponents, would say that.

  • we’re watching

    I am disappointed to see trainer TP seemingly mishandle another up and coming thoroughbred. Give more horses to more trainers and forget about the factory trainers.

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