Indian Express (right) and Kafwain working together at Churchill Tuesday morning.

Indian Express (right) and Kafwain working together at Churchill Tuesday morning.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Kafwain Defects from Derby After Baffert Pair Works

By Dan Liebman and Deirdre B. Biles

The Thoroughbred Corporation's Kafwain was withdrawn from Saturday's Kentucky Derby following a workout with stablemate Indian Express at Churchill Downs on Tuesday. The Bob Baffert-trained pair breezed five-eighths of a mile in :59 3/5.

Baffert removed Kafwain from Derby consideration after the colt did not pull up well following the workout. The exact reason for the withdrawal was not immediately known.

Richard Mulhall of The Thoroughbred Corp. told The Blood-Horse in a telephone interview that the exact nature of the injury had not been determined, but that it involved a front leg.

"I think it was his right front," Mulhall said. "(Jockey) David Flores (who was aboard Kafwain) said he took one or two bad steps on the track. When he (Kafwain) came back and was cooling out, he was off a little bit. Most people probably wouldn't have noticed it. We might not know exactly what's wrong until tomorrow, but it's not life-threatening."

With Dana Barnes aboard, Indian Express was on the inside throughout, with his stablemate on the outside under Flores.

"That was his best work ever," Baffert said of Indian Express, the Phil Chess-owned son of Indian Charlie who finished second in the Santa Anita Derby. "He will have to improve (to win the Derby) because he has only been around two turns once. I am hopeful he will step it up. He has really done well here."

Of Kafwain's breeze, Baffert said "It was workmanlike, but that is the way he is."

Baffert declined to speculate on his chances for a Derby victory, noting that "I don't do that anymore, because I came here thinking Point Given could not lose. I've learned you just get them ready and send them out there."

Bred in Utah by Highland Farms, Indian Express had two impressive victories in Panama before returning to the U.S.

Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. R. Smiser West, Kafwain is a son of Cherokee Run who has won four of 11 career starts, with two seconds and two third-place finishes.