Kentucky Derby wide open after favourite injured

if the Classic scene rumblings and tremors came at Longchamp yesterday, the full-scale eruption was on the other side of the Atlantic. Eskendereya, red-hot ante-post favourite for Saturday's Kentucky Derby after effortless wide-margin victories in his two races this year, was announced a non-runner during the morning by trainer Todd Pletcher. The colt, as short as 13-8 in some betting lists, has sustained an injury to his left foreleg and his enforced absence now throws America's most famous race wide open.

Though Pletcher has six other entries for the 136th Run For The Roses in his barn, Eskendereya, winner of the Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial Stakes by an aggregate 18 1/4 lengths, was considered by far his best chance of ending an 0-for-24 sequence in the Churchill Downs showpiece. Though the son of Giant's Causeway exercised at the Louisville track on Saturday, he missed an early session of strong work with his stablemates yesterday, after which Pletcher confirmed his worst fears.

"I'd thought he was a bit off on Saturday," he said, "and noticed a bit of filling in the leg. We were kind of hoping for a miracle overnight but we didn't get it."

Eskendereya's problem is not thought to be career-threatening but is a blow not only to his trainer but to financially-troubled owner Ahmed Zayat. "It's the worst kind of timing," added Pletcher, "and it's a tough one all round. He's not lame, not in discomfort but he's too special a horse to take any chances with. The phone call to the owner was not one I wanted to make but he took it better than I would have."

Pletcher still has the colts Mission Impazible, Rule, Discreetly Mine, Super Saver and Interactif and the filly Devil May Care in the $2m race. Santa Anita Derby, Sidney's Candy and Lookin At Lucky are now jostling for favouritism.

Sheikh Mohammed has not this year mustered a candidate for the one Derby he covets most for his global Godolphin empire's honours board, but things are moving on the European front; two days after Newmarket-based Chabal established himself as a credible contender for the original at Epsom by winning a trial at Sandown, Simon de Montfort followed suit at Longchamp with the Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly in view.

The son of King's Best, in the charge of Andre Fabre, pounced late and decisively in the Prix La Force, confirming his recent superiority over Pain Perdu by a neck, with Paul Cole-trained Circumvent, the day's sole British raider, three-quarters of a length third in a typical French sprint blanket finish.

Half an hour earlier, in the Prix de la Grotte, the colt's stablemate Anna Salai instigated a double in the Godolphin team's all-gold strip, quickening impressively from last to first to put clear air between herself and Gotlandia, with last year's best French juvenile filly Rosanara only third. It was a first success for the daughter of Dubawi, who will now head for the 1,000 Guineas over the same course and distance next month.

The equivalent prep for colts, the Prix de Fontainbleau, resulted, as expected, in a victory for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre and owner the Aga Khan, but not exactly the one predicted as odds-on Siyouni was turned over by his own pacemaker Rajsaman, a 25-1 shot.

Thierry Jarnet, on Rajsaman, did his job well, turning into the straight with a clear lead. It was hardly his fault that Siyouni, with Gerald Mosse on board, had run a little fresh, became trapped behind horses and then caught slightly flat-footed as the pace quickened.

The favourite flew once he hit his stride and did his French 2,000 Guineas prospects no harm at all, but this time failed by half a length to catch his hare. Local punters, though, would not be discomfited as horses in the same ownership are considered one in pari-mutuel betting.

Turf account

*Sue Montgomery's Nap

Our Boy Barrington (7.40)

Off the mark when stepped up to a mile nine days ago. His in-form stable's first string today on jockey bookings.



Next best

Dancing Dude (3.40 Newcastle)

Big backward type but the penny should drop today, albeit at a pros-only price.



*One to watch

Swilly Ferry (BW Hills) ran into a traffic jam when fifth on seasonal debut at HQ.



*Where the money's going

Hamdan al Maktoum's Habaayib cut to 20-1 for 1,000 Guineas by Paddy Power.



*Chris McGrath's Nap

Nimue (3.10 Newcastle)

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week