Illustrating in vivid detail the Road to the Kentucky Derby remains perilous, connections for Caracaro scratched the horse from the Sept. 5 Derby after a Friday workout at Saratoga.

Caracaro Out of Derby
Caracaro (left), seen here finishing second to Country Grammer in the Peter Pan Stakes in July, was scratched from the Kentucky Derby Friday after suffering apparent ligament damage during a workout. (Image: Skip Dickstein/Times Union)

Exercise rider J.J. Delgado sent the Travers Stakes runner-up on a 1:12.26 six-furlong workout Friday morning. Afterwards, Delgado told trainer Gustavo Delgado (no relation) Caracaro stepped wrong during the workout. When Delgado got the horse back to the barn and examined his right front leg, what he saw troubled him.

“I don’t like the ligament,” he told drf.com.

Delgado scratched the horse for what he called “a soft tissue injury,” according to Churchill Downs’ media relations department. He said Caracaro will undergo X-rays Friday, then return to his Kentucky farm, where his connections will figure out if his career continues.

Caracaro Stakes-Placed Twice This Year

Owned by Global Thoroughbred and Top Racing, Caracaro is the son of noted stallion Uncle Mo. He sat 10th on the Derby points list with 60, banked by second-place finishes at the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes and the Grade 1 Travers – both at Saratoga. In the Travers, Caracaro finished a solid, but well-beaten 5 ½ lengths behind Tiz the Law.

A $95,000 purchase at the 2017 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, Caracaro earned $238,000 in his four-race career to date. A remarkably consistent horse, Caracaro broke his maiden his second time out for his only victory. But he finished second in his other three races.

Ridden by Javier Castellano, Caracaro was one of seven Derby probables with a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure (101) on his resume. Under the Brisnet Speed Figure method, Caracaro’s career-best 109 ranks second, only behind Tiz the Law’s 115.

Caracaro Wasn’t a Win Threat, but Hitting the Board…

Taking this into account, speed-figure based handicappers would have included Caracaro underneath in exotics. Instead, Delgado joins Bob Baffert (Nadal, Charlatan), Brad Cox (Wells Bayou) and Brendan Walsh (Maxfield) as trainers victimized by fate, injury to their Derby hopefuls and the COVID-19-postponed Derby.

“I don’t have the words. Horses, one day they’re good, one day they’re bad. That’s life as a horsemen,” he told drf.com.

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