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Minor injury knocks Art Collector out of upcoming Kentucky Derby; Tiz the Law enters as big favorite

Bruce Lunsford’s homebred colt Art Collector, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes (GII) on July 11, was declared out of the 146th Kentucky Derby on Tuesday morning because of a minor injury to his left front.

The son of Bernardini nicked the bulb of his left front heel with a hind hoof while galloping Monday at Churchill Downs. Because of horse racing strict medication rules, the horse could not be treated with an anti-inflammatory this close to the race.

Bruce Lunsford’s Art Collector winning Keeneland’s Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass. (Coady Photography)

“He grabbed himself yesterday morning training,” trainer Tommy Drury said. “It was still very sensitive this morning. When I took my thumbs to palpate the bulbs of his heels, you could still tell it was pinching him. I had to make a choice. Your horse has to always come first. To run in a race of this caliber and trying to compete against the best 3-year-olds in this country, you’ve got to be 110 percent.”

Art Collector was widely considered the biggest threat to Belmont (GI) and Travers Stakes (GI) winner Tiz the Law heading into Saturday’s 1 ¼-miles classic, coming into the race off a 3 ¼-length victory in the Ellis Park Derby on Aug. 9.

Tiz the Law is the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby with 3-5 opening odds.

“We didn’t want to take any chances with a horse potentially this good,” Lunsford said. “The Derby means an awful lot to me so it’s been kind of a tough day and night. But the horse is always the most important thing in all these things. We’ll get another chance to have another day. We’ll try and make it to the Preakness and maybe from there, the Breeders’ Cup.”

Art Collector has been unbeaten in four starts this year since joining Drury’s barn, including two victories at Churchill Downs.

From Kentucky Derby

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