Don Benge’s Maximus Ruler, runner-up in the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) last month and an expected starter in this weekend’s Risen Star (gr. II)—both at Fair Grounds—will miss the important 3-year-old race because of a stone bruise in his right hind foot, trainer Clark Hanna said Feb. 15.
A son of Roman Ruler, Maximus Ruler breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 on Feb. 14 in preparation for the Risen Star, but later in the afternoon Hanna noticed something was wrong with the colt.
“He was real sensitive on that foot yesterday afternoon, so I had the vet take X-rays,” Hanna said. “Thank God everything came back clean. We pulled his shoe last night and that seemed to help. He seems to be much better today; he’s bearing weight on the foot now. Yesterday, he was in some pain.
“I talked to Mr. Benge and the vet, and we decided not to enter him. I hope it’s not too serious, but right now we felt this was the best thing to do for the horse. It’s just a lot of bad timing.”
Depending on how Maximus Ruler recovers, Hanna said he could stay on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) trail. But they will take it a week at a time until a decision can be made.
“We’ve discussed a few different options,” Hanna said. “We talked about an allowance race here (at Fair Grounds) on (March 1). Obviously, there is no graded money in that, but we also talked about the Rebel (gr. II, March 13 at Oaklawn) or the Gotham (gr. III, March 6 at Aqueduct). But right now everything is on hold. We’ll see.”
Maximus Ruler has won just once, but has hit the board in all three lifetime starts. He was bred in Kentucky by Hargus Sexton and Sandra Sexton and is out of the Lost Code mare Lost Love.