posted by Kalina on Apr 30

Win Willy, seen here on April 27th, will not be running in the Kentucky Derby. (picture by Anne M. Eberhardt)


Win Willy, the winner of the March 14 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, was declared not entering the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on the morning of April 29th by trainer Mac Robertson. The declaration was made hours before entries were to be taken for the race taking place at Churchill Downs on May 2nd.

According to Robertson, an x-ray showed a “line” in his left front ankle. Just to be safe, the connections decided not to run him in the race, but to give him some time off instead. It is by no means a career-threatening injury. The colt felt well enough to be galloped a mile over the muddy track at Churchill Downs before the decision was made.

“He’s not sore,” Robertson said outside Barn 45. “He went to the track today and I jogged him a mile. The vets came this morning with the X-rays and there was something a little suspicious. If it is a small fracture, it’s not displaced. You can barely see it on one view. You can barely see a line from the ankle to the pastern.

“It may the start of something; it might be something he’s had since he was a yearling,” he said. “I’d never X-rayed his ankles. I’ve X-rayed his knees, but never his ankles.”

His final Derby workout was on Monday; he got got the five furlongs in a time of 1:02 2/5.

Robertson said he had the x-rays taken just to be sure nothing was wrong. The trainer said he was not disappointed that Win Willy will not make the Derby field, saying, “the horse is more important.

“Going a mile and a quarter against those kind of horses when there might be something there? I’m not going to do that to the horse,” Robertson said.

“I’ll keep him here and pull his shoes and let him walk 30 days. If it is the start of a fracture, I don’t want him running around. In 60 days we’ll X-ray him and see if it’s healing or doing the same. If it’s the same, then he’s probably had it. If it’s healing, it’s probably something he did in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) or his work here.”

Win Willy won two of his first three starts, then created a huge upset when he beat Old Fashioned, the then-Derby favorite, by 2 1/4 lengths at odds of 57-1. Then he finished fourth in Papa Clem’s Arkansas Derby (gr. II) victory.

“He’s a beautiful horse,” Robertson said. “When he gets a break, he’ll get a little wider because basically he’s been going for a long time between 14-15 months. You take a horse like this and give him a break, who knows?”

One Comment to “Win Willy out of Derby”

  1. Fran Couper Says:

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