Greatest Honour latest to depart Kentucky Derby trail


Another big name is off the Kentucky Derby trail.

Greatest Honour, the beaten favorite in last month’s Grade I, $750,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, won’t be running in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1.

Shug McGaughey, his Hall of Fame trainer, said Greatest Honour is out after being diagnosed with bone bruising in both of his front ankles.

“It’s not real bad,” McGaughey said Wednesday by cellphone. “He will be fine; he just needs a little time.”

Greatest Honour was third in the Florida Derby on March 27, beaten 5 3/4 lengths by Known Agenda. A son of Tapit, Greatest Honour was the 4-5 favorite in the Florida Derby.

After that race, McGaughey had his colt checked out by noted equine veterinarian Dr. Larry Bramlage and the injury was found. Greatest Honour was sent to Don and Donna Adams’ Courtlandt Farm in Ocala, Fla., on Wednesday morning. They own Greatest Honour.

McGaughey said surgery will not be needed.

“I’m disappointed,” McGaughey said. “I am disappointed for Mr. Adams and his family. They were looking forward to it. Hopefully, we will have another opportunity down the road. Once Greatest Honour gets back going, I think we will have a lot of races we can enjoy watching him run in.”

FILE - Trainer Claude 'Shug' McGaughey is seen at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., in this Wednesday, May 1, 2019, file photo. McGaughey will run heavily favored Greatest Honour in Saturday's Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, one of the last major prep races for the Kentucky Derby.
FILE – Trainer Claude ‘Shug’ McGaughey is seen at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., in this Wednesday, May 1, 2019, file photo. McGaughey will run heavily favored Greatest Honour in Saturday’s Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, one of the last major prep races for the Kentucky Derby.Gregory Payan/AP

On March 20, it was announced that the undefeated Life Is Good, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, would miss the Derby because of a hind-end injury.

McGaughey said Greatest Honour will be turned out at Courtlandt Farm for 30 days.

“He will be re-evaluated after that, and, if things are going our way, we will put the tack back on him,” McGaughey said. “Hopefully, we can get him back the first part of June.”

If all goes well, Greatest Honour could be in line to run at Saratoga Race Course this summer. He began his career at the Spa last summer, finishing third in a maiden race on Sept. 5.

Greatest Honour won the Grade III Holy Bull in his first start this year and then took the Grade II Fountain of Youth to set him up for a run in Gulfstream’s main Derby prep, the Florida Derby.

McGaughey said he is not sure when or where the injury occurred.

“He pulled up fine after the Florida Derby,” he said. “Whether it was something that happened during the race, I don’t know.”

Greatest Honour has raced seven times in his career and has three wins, a second and three third-place finishes. His regular rider, Jose Ortiz, will now be aboard Dynamic One in the Kentucky Derby. Ortiz rode that horse to a second-place finish in the Wood Memorial last Saturday at Aqueduct Race Track.

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