Miller Lite Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) winner Cairo Prince has sustained an injury to his left front ankle and will miss the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said April 19.
"We not sure exactly what it is," said McLaughlin, who trains Cairo Prince for for Godolphin, Terry Murray, Paul Braverman, Harvey Clarke, and Craig Robertson III. "We need (equine surgeon Larry) Bramlage to help us out. Hopefully it will be fine and he won't need surgery and be back this summer sometime, but we'll have to see."
The Pioneerof the Nile colt will leave from Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida at 5 p.m. EDT for Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, where Bramlage will try to pinpoint and determine the extent of the injury.
McLaughlin said Cairo Prince came out of an April 13 breeze at Palm Meadows "a little jammed up" and that initially he was thought to have a foot issue because the colt had some foot problems in the past.
"We thought it was his foot and we had been working on his foot all week and his foot got better but he really didn't get better," the trainer said. "So we X-rayed him and he X-rayed fine. We need help from Dr. Bramlage to find out what's wrong because the X-rays are fine, but he's injured his left fetlock."
Although a powerful winner of the Holy Bull Jan. 25, Cairo Prince finished fourth in his most recent start, the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I ) March 29 after bypassing the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II) five weeks earlier. He emerged from the Florida Derby with some nicks and cuts, McLaughlin said.
"We're hoping there's no infection; that it's all superficial," he said. "It's too close to make the Derby. We need Dr. Bramlage to help us out."
Cairo Prince won the Nashua Stakes (gr. II) as a 2-year-old straight off his debut maiden win, and was runner-up to Honor Code in a thrilling edition of the Remsen (gr. II). A $250,000 purchase from the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2012 by Murray, Braverman, Clarke, and Robertson, a majority interest in the gray/roan colt was sold to Godolphin following the Holy Bull.
"It's a very sad day," McLaughlin said. "For all the owners...it's so sad and so tough. All my staff and all my family...it's the toughest day of my career as a trainer.
"He's not missed a day of training since September. Hopefully we still have a horse and he's fine. I hope it's not too serious and there's no infection and we're okay for later because he's a damn nice horse."