Constitution, a leading Triple Crown hopeful off his win in the $1 million Florida Derby, will be forced to miss the May 3 Kentucky Derby and the rest of the 2014 Triple Crown due to the discovery of a hairline fracture in his front right cannon bone on Monday.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, the undefeated son of leading sire Tapit breezed a half mile in :50 3/5 on Sunday at Palm Meadows and on Monday morning he was discovered to be a little off in his right front leg.
"This is one of the biggest disappointments of my career," Pletcher said. "I really feel Constitution was our biggest chance to win the Kentucky Derby since Super Saver. My routine with all my horses is to jog them down the road, and I noticed he was slightly off (Monday). Dr. Yarborough took x-rays that revealed a slight hairline in his shin.
"Thankfully, it's nothing very serious, and Constitution will be back to 100 percent after a little time. The timing is just a real shame for everyone involved, but the Derby doesn't define a horse's career."
Constitution will be shipped to WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky to rehabilitate, with the hopes of returning to training in 60 days and racing again in 2014. The talented bay colt is owned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables.
"While we are extremely disappointed to miss the Kentucky Derby, we're just as excited about the future of Constitution," said Randy Gullatt, Twin Creeks Racing's general manager. "We think he's just scratching the surface of his talent."
WinStar President & CEO Elliott Walden added: "Todd has done a tremendous job with Constitution and I can't wait to get him back for two reasons: firstly, he has so much to accomplish, and secondly, he is the most exciting stallion prospect of his generation."
Constitution holds a perfect record of three wins from three starts this winter at Gulfstream Park, capturing the March 29 Florida Derby in his stakes debut. Out of the Distorted Humor mare Baffled, he has earnings of $649,350 to date.
With the defection, Uncle Sigh now has enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, moving from 21st to 20th on the leaderboard.