Foxwoods Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner Havana, 9-5 program favorite for the $200,000 Swale Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park March 1, was scratched the morning of the race due to a quarter crack in his right front foot, trainer Todd Pletcher said.
The seven-furlong Swale was to be the first start of the year for the 3-year-old Dunkirk colt, runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park. His injury was discovered after a routine gallop this morning at Palm Meadows training facility in South Florida.
"When he came out this morning, he was a little tender in his right front foot. We couldn't really see anything of note," Pletcher said. "I went ahead and took him to the racetrack to see how he was, and he actually trained fine. When he came back, he had a little bit of blood on the inside quarter of his front foot and we saw a little quarter crack there. I don't anticipate it's going to be a big deal but the timing couldn't have been much worse, especially for today's race."
Owned by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Susan Magnier, Havana broke his maiden in front-running fashion at Saratoga Race Course last summer, then came back to beat Honor Code by a neck in the one-mile Champagne at Belmont Park in his second start.
Sent off as the favorite in a field of 13 for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Havana took a two-length lead into the stretch before falling 1 3/4 lengths short of upset winner New Year's Day . He had breezed five times in preparation for the Swale, most recently going five furlongs in 1:00.90 Feb. 23.
Havana drew post one of seven in the Swale and was to be ridden by John Velazquez.
"I really don't have a firm plan until I can see how quickly we can get this patched and ready to go," Pletcher said. "I've had some of these were you can literally within 48 hours have a patch on and never look back, and some of them can be longer, more drawn-out processes. It's literally day to day until we see once we get it patched, and then we'll come up with a plan."