A field of nine is expected for Saturday's Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds after grade I winner Proud Accolade was discovered to have a fever and withdrawn from consideration by trainer Todd Pletcher.
"It's obviously bad timing," Pletcher said. "We'll just try to get him back right."
With Proud Accolade going to the sidelines, a lot of attention will be placed on Risen Star Stakes winner Scipion. Trained by Patrick Biancone, the son of A.P. Indy
has been training forwardly. He will be ridden by Gary Stevens.
Pletcher originally planned to send both Proud Accolade and Vicarage, with go-to rider John Velazquez scheduled to ride the son of Yes It's True
. Due to the defection, Velazquez will now have the mount aboard Vicarage.
Vicarage finished third to Proud Accolade in the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, but Pletcher likes the son of distance sire Vicar
's chances in the 1 1/16-mile Louisiana Derby.
Vicarage's only distance race was on the turf as a 2-year-old, where he tired to finish eighth in his seasonal finale. Campaigned by Dogwood Stable, Vicarage impressively won a six-furlong allowance heat at Gulfstream Park in his 3-year-old debut before this third-place run in the Hutcheson.
Fair Grounds-based Storm Surge and Real Dandy, who finished second and third behind Scipion in the Risen Star, are also expected to start.
Jerry Bailey will ride Storm Surge for trainer Dallas Stewart and Donnie Meche gets the call aboard Real Dandy for Steve Asmussen.
Storm Surge worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 March 5 and Real Dandy stopped the clock in :49 after a half-mile March 7.
Also expected to start are Texcess, High Limit, Kansas City Boy, Wallstreet Scandal, and Indy Storm.