Legendary trainer Bob Baffert will not be attending the 2013 Kentucky Derby after two of his horses were scratched on Monday.
Baffert was interviewed by BloodHorse.com and broke the news that neither Governor Charlie nor Code West will be able to compete in the The Run for the Roses.
"We just decided to wait. When they tell us they're ready to go then they will go again. You cannot have any kind of a hiccup. Going into the Kentucky Derby, at a mile and a quarter, you just have to be so ready. It's disappointing for the owners, but you have to be competitive. My owners are not going to run just for the heck of it. We're just going to watch. Good luck to everybody else."
As he said, there's no sense in running a horse that's not healthy or capable of winning. You'll only do more damage to the horse and the payoff will be minimal.
The horses were unlikely to be among the favorites to win the Derby. Governor Charlie is 11th in the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings with 50 points, and Code West is in 21st place on 20 points. Although only 20 horses are in the race, should Code West have stayed healthy, he likely would have made the final field.
By taking the horses out of the Derby, Baffert will be hoping their chances of winning either the Preakness or Belmont Stakes will improve.
Now they've got plenty of time to work back to full health and take part in warmup races before the Triple Crown starts up again.
The Derby will miss having a trainer like Baffert take part. One of the biggest names in the sport, even casual horse racing fans are aware of Baffert's reputation. He's become as much a fixture at Churchill Downs as mint juleps and crazy, oversized hats.
Baffert's won nine Triple Crown races, three of which have come at Churchill Downs. Baffert won in back-to-back years with Silver Charm in 1997 and Real Quiet in 1998. The last time he won at the Kentucky Derby was in 2002 with War Emblem.