Robert V. LaPenta’s War Pass, the champion 2-year-old male 2008, is missing Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I), because of an injury. Following his runner-up finish in the April 5 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I), a fracture was discovered in a sesamoid in the Cherokee Runcolt’s left front ankle.
Now it’s a waiting game, according to his trainer, Nick Zito, who is taking the advice of prominent equine surgeon Larry Bramlage about the colt’s treatment, which so far, has not involved an operation.
“We’re supposed to wait two months and re-X-ray him and then go from there,” Zito said at Churchill Downs Monday morning. “Dr. Bramlage wants to see if that line (the fracture) closes down like it’s supposed to, so hopefully, in two months, it will close down. That’s all we can do.”
An earner of $1,583,400, War Pass captured last year’s Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and Champagne Stakes (gr. I). In addition to his second-place Wood effort this year, he won an allowance race and finished seventh in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III).
The news wasn't good for another of Zito's trainees, Aquarian, who broke his right foreleg while working last Friday with Kentucky Derby candidate Anak Nakal. Lincoln Collins, an adviser to the colt's owner, Tracy Farmer, said Aquarian was euthanized later that same day because of the seriousness of his injury and a poor prognosis. The colt was a 3-year-old winning son of Fusaichi Pegasus that brought $685,000 as a weanling at the 2005 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Zito said.
In addition to Anak Nakal, Zito is scheduled to saddle Cool Coal Man for the Derby.