Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs

Hoppertunity Heading Home to California

Rebel Stakes (gr. II) winner was sidelined in Kentucky after surgery in May.

Rebel Stakes (gr. II) winner Hoppertunity will rejoin Bob Baffert's California string next week, the Hall of Fame horseman confirmed via text July 8.

A popular contender on the Triple Crown trail earlier this season, the 3-year-old son of Any Given Saturday was declared out of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 1 after developing a bruise to his left front foot following an April 28 breeze in the slop at Churchill Downs.  

ANGST: Bad Foot Knocks Hoppertunity From Derby

Doctors at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington discovered a fetlock spur in the colt's left leg as well, which was subsequently removed. He has been recovering at Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center (KESMARC) near Versailles.

NOVAK: Hoppertunity Off Triple Crown Trail

Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman, Hoppertunity earned his way into the Derby field with that Rebel score March 15 at Oaklawn Park, just two starts after breaking his maiden at Santa Anita Park in late January. Following the Rebel, the colt finished second in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).

The long-striding bay will resume training under Baffert's supervision before a future race target is determined.

"His 60 days are about up," Pegram said of the colt's recovery when reached via phone. "I know when he went in (to Rood & Riddle) they said he needed around 60 days when they plucked out that chip, so he's pretty much right on schedule."

Bred in Kentucky by D.J. Stable, Kidder, Betz, and Robenalt out of the Unaccounted For mare Refugee, Hoppertunity is a half brother to retired multiple grade I winner Executiveprivilege. He was purchased by Baffert at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale for $300,000 when consigned by Betz Thoroughbreds, and has a record of two wins and a second from five starts for earnings of $610,720.

Hoppertunity's yearling half brother, a Cowboy Cal colt bred in Kentucky by Barronstown Stud, is Hip no. 154 consigned by Hidden Brook, agent, to the Fasig-Tipton July sale scheduled for July 14 near Lexington.

Watch Bob Baffert's interview following his decision to scratch Hoppertunity from the Kentucky Derby.