Murphy's Law continues to plague Fox Hill Farm's Rockport Harbor, who now has come down with an undetermined ailment, forcing trainer John Servis to cancel his scheduled work Saturday and putting his status for the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) in question.
"I originally thought he had a fever but John just told me he did not," Fox Hill owner Rick Porter said late Saturday morning. "They think he had a reaction to a buildup shot he had a couple days ago. John was just not happy with his attitude this morning and decided not to train him. His white count is good too, so maybe it's not an infection as we first thought."
The son of Unbridled's Song
has been battling foot bruises the last few months, but that problem seems to be under control for the time being.
"(Quarter crack specialist) Ian McKinlay was very happy with the foot and patched it, leaving a drain for precaution," Porter said. "The leg and hoof are not a problem at this point. Time is our enemy. We are not out yet, but we won't jeopardize his career for any race. If he is not 95 % fit for the next race, he won't run."
This marks the fourth setback for Rockport Harbor, beginning with a severe gash suffered during the running of the Remsen Stakes (gr. II).
Rockport Harbor, who finished a gutsy second to Greater Good in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) in his 3-year-old debut, is now in jeopardy once again of missing the Arkansas Derby and the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), but Porter said "things seem to be a lot better in the last hour."
With Afleet Alex suffering a lung infection in the Rebel, in which he finished last as the 3-5 favorite, Oaklawn Park's 3-year-old events this winter have not gone as hoped.
Greater Good, the only one who has remained healthy, had his Arkansas Derby tuneup Saturday morning, breezing five furlongs in 1:04 2/5, galloping out six furlongs in 1:17 3/5. The son of Intidab
's early fractions were :13 4/5, :27 1/5, and :40 3/5. He worked in company with Copy My Notes, with both horses finishing on even terms. Jockey John McKee was aboard Greater Good.