Surprise Scratch: Asmussen Opts Out of Kentucky Derby with Morello

Unfortunate Injury Forces Morello to Miss Kentucky Derby

In a disappointing turn of events, trainer Steve Asmussen has announced that Morello, the talented racehorse, will not be able to compete in the upcoming Kentucky Derby due to a foot injury. This unfortunate setback has dashed the hopes of many racing enthusiasts who were eager to see Morello showcase his skills in the prestigious event.

Pioneer of Medina Takes Morello’s Place

With Morello forced to withdraw from the Kentucky Derby, Pioneer of Medina has now secured a spot in the field. Trainer Todd Pletcher has expressed optimism about Pioneer of Medina’s chances and has stated that if the horse performs well during his workout at Churchill Downs, he will be entered into the race.

Pioneer of Medina’s path to the Derby field was paved by his impressive third-place finish in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, followed by a respectable fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Risen Star. The offspring of Pioneerof The Nile has consistently delivered strong performances, with Equibase Speed Figures ranging from 90 to 96 in his last five starts.

The Injury and Future Plans for Morello

During the Wood Memorial two weeks ago, Morello experienced a significant setback when he blew a shoe. This unexpected incident led to his sixth-place finish, marking his first loss in four races. Steve Asmussen, in his interview with, explained that the horse’s foot injury requires proper attention and care.

Asmussen emphasized that the well-being of the horse is their top priority. They plan to provide Morello with the necessary time off to allow his foot to heal and grow stronger. The trainer conveyed his optimism that Morello’s talent and abilities will be back on track once he has fully recovered.

Morello’s Promising Career

Before his unfortunate injury, Morello had an impressive career record, with three wins out of four races. Notably, he triumphed in two stake races, the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes on February 6 and the Grade 3 Gotham a month later. Both victories showcased Morello’s exceptional talent and dominance, with a combined winning margin of 9 ½ lengths. He made a remarkable debut as a juvenile, winning his maiden special weight race by 4 ¼ lengths in November.

However, Morello’s journey took an unexpected turn in the Wood Memorial. Despite being the favorite with odds of 1.90/1, the race proved to be a challenge for him. As he encountered trouble at the start and was unable to find his rhythm, Morello fell behind by 6 ½ lengths after the first quarter-mile. By the time they reached the top of the stretch, he was an astonishing 14 lengths off the pace. Ultimately, Morello finished a disappointing 21 ½ lengths behind the winner, Mo Donegal.

Looking Ahead: Rest and Recovery for Morello

Trainer Steve Asmussen understands the importance of allowing Morello sufficient time to heal and recuperate from his foot injury. While the exact nature of the injury has not been specified, Asmussen and his team are dedicated to providing the necessary care for Morello’s full recovery.

Despite Morello’s absence, Asmussen still has another potential star in the Derby field. Epicenter, considered the presumptive favorite, remains a strong contender. The horse recently put in an impressive six-furlong workout at a swift time of 1:12.40 on Sunday, showcasing his readiness for the upcoming race.


The unexpected foot injury has forced the promising racehorse Morello to withdraw from the Kentucky Derby, deflating the hopes of many fans and followers. Trainer Steve Asmussen acknowledged the setback and emphasized the importance of prioritizing Morello’s well-being. Meanwhile, Pioneer of Medina has secured Morello’s spot in the Derby field, providing fresh excitement for racing enthusiasts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Will Morello be able to recover from his foot injury and compete in future races?

Although it is difficult to determine the extent of Morello’s foot injury at this time, trainer Steve Asmussen and his team are dedicated to ensuring the horse’s full recovery. With proper care and rest, there is hope that Morello will be able to return to racing in the future.

2. How does Pioneer of Medina’s entry into the Kentucky Derby impact the race?

Pioneer of Medina’s inclusion in the Derby field adds an exciting element to the race. This talented horse has consistently performed well in recent races, earning his spot through impressive finishes in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and the Grade 2 Risen Star.

3. What are the future plans for Morello following his injury?

Trainer Steve Asmussen’s primary focus is on Morello’s recovery and ensuring his long-term well-being. Once the horse has fully healed and regained his strength, a plan will be devised to resume his racing career.

4. How has Morello’s absence affected the Kentucky Derby’s overall dynamics?

Morello’s withdrawal from the Kentucky Derby has undoubtedly shifted the dynamics of the race. With his impressive record and potential, many racing enthusiasts were eager to witness his performance. However, the Derby remains a highly competitive event, filled with talented horses vying for victory.

5. Can Epicenter fill the void left by Morello and emerge as the new favorite?

Epicenter, trained by Steve Asmussen, is indeed a strong contender in the Kentucky Derby. With Morello out of the equation, Epicenter’s odds of emerging as the new favorite are heightened. His recent impressive workout demonstrates his readiness to compete at the highest level.

Picture of Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, cons the all tetur adiscing elit