Hoppertunity Scratched Two Days Before Kentucky Derby

Hoppertunity was easily a favorite to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby but he was scratched just two days before the race. According to Yahoo! Sports, the colt was forced to withdraw from the competition due to a sore front left foot. While some had high hopes for the horse (could he have won the Triple Crown?), his Derby dreams were over in an instant on Thursday morning. Trainer Bob Baffert made the decision today after noticing something wasn’t right during the horse’s early morning workout.

Baffert consulted Churchill Downs veterinarian Larry Bramlage and the horse was taken for various scans. Upon reviewing the scans, Bramlage gave Baffert the bad news and the horse was forced out of the race. News spread quickly around Churchill Downs — and on the internet.

Baffert told the Associated Press:

“Bad news travels fast. The horse is OK. He’s just not 100 percent and it’s too close to the race, so I pulled the plug… We missed a Hoppertunity… I’ve had a lot of luck here so I can’t really complain.”

Hoppertunity was a lead contender along with California Chrome, Wicked Strong, Danza, and Intense Holiday as previously reported by Inquisitr.com. Since the draw and the scratch, the odds look like this: California Chrome (5-2), Wicked Strong (6-1), Danza, (8-1), Intense Holiday (8-1), and Tapiture (8-1).

While many expected Wicked Strong to lose some ground because he will be racing out of post 20, he has held on and is still a major contender. California Chrome drew spot number five which isn’t necessarily ideal, but it’s much better than post 20. Even still, these odds are expected to change several times before the big race which will get under way just before 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 3.

Learning that Hoppertunity would not race on Saturday was a major let down to several avid Derby enthusiasts who were planning on adding the horse to their trifecta and exacta guesses. While most people will tell you that there isn’t a “sure thing” when it comes to horse racing, Hoppertunity’s name was thrown around many times. While he wasn’t the favorite, he was a favorite and he could have easily been in the top three with the help of Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.

Fortunately for those who watch the other races (The Preakness and The Belmont), Bob Baffert is hopeful that this horse will be well enough to compete.

Was Hoppertunity your 2014 Kentucky Derby pick? Who do you think will be the winner?

[Photo Credit: AP Photo / Charlie Riedel via ESPN]