About an hour after giving the all-clear for Casino Drive to run in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), trainer Kazuo Fujisawa said the colt was favoring his left rear hoof and was scratched from the classic.
Earlier, Fujisawa was all smiles after watching Casino Drive canter three furlongs and gave a thumbs up for colt to run in the Belmont.
But when the colt was being bathed following the exercise regimen, he was favoring his foot and the trainer decided to scratch.
"He is sound," Fujisawa declared earlier, after watching Casino Drive leave the track following a three furlong canter. Winner of the Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont, Casino Drive is considered one of the leading contenders to upset Big Brown's Triple Crown quest.
The colt's status was thrown into doubt Friday when he did not go to the track because a stone bruise had been detected in the left hind hoof.
Accompanied by Nobutaka Tada, spokesperson of owner Hidetoshi Yamamota, Fujisawa followed Casino Drive to the track at about 5:30 a.m. The colt and a stablemate walked the circle in the paddock for about six laps before going onto the track for his exercise.
Tada explained that the injury had responded favorably to treatments Friday.