LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The longshot Hunt will be withdrawn from Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile, a Breeders’ Cup racing official confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
Hunt’s trainer, Phil d’Amato, did not return a text message regarding the defection and calls to his mobile phone went directly to voicemail, suggesting he might have been traveling from California.
Hunt was a 30-1 shot on the Mile’s morning line and got into race through a May 28 win in the Shoemaker Mile, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race offering fees-paid entry into the Mile as well as travel expenses to Churchill Downs.
The Mile has two horses on the also-eligible list, and trainer Kelly Rubley confirmed that Divisidero, the first of them, will take his spot in the starting gate Saturday.
Divisidero will be the first Breeders’ Cup starter for both Rubley, who is based at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland, and jockey Jevian Toledo. Divisidero was to travel by van, a 10-hour ride, from Fair Hill to Churchill on Tuesday night and would have made that trip even without news of the defection, Rubley said.
Divisidero had a good workout on the Tapeta surface at Fair Hill on Friday under Toledo, according to Rubley. “We’ve been training him like he was going to get into the race,” she said.
The also-eligible horses don’t get to draw a post and slide into the outside starting stall if there’s a defection, so barring further changes, Divisidero breaks from post 14. That’s a tough spot, and Divisidero’s recent form (he was fifth last out in the Woodbine Mile) isn’t especially encouraging, but what the horse does have going for him is a love of the Churchill grass course. Trained at the time by Buff Bradley, Divisidero won the Grade 2 American Turf over this course in 2015, then captured the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill in 2016 and 2017. He lost his unbeaten record on the course this summer, finishing third, beaten less than one length, in the Wise Dan Stakes.
The filly Clemmie shipped here Monday from Ireland, and were she to draw in from the other also-eligible position would give trainer Aidan O’Brien four runners in the Mile. O’Brien already has I Can Fly, Gustav Klimt, and Happily in the field’s main body.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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