LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The 2017 Kentucky Derby had a favorite for a matter of seconds, then the Derby dreams of Mastery evaporated with a freak injury.
The three-year-old colt, sent out by Cheyenne Stables and trainer Bob Baffert, had just won the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes and 50 points that would qualify the horse for the Derby.
Moments after crossing the finish line, jockey Mike Smith felt something go wrong.
TVG quoted Smith as saying he felt something in Mastery's left side and immediately hopped off the winner.
Instead of going to the winner's circle, Mastery went back to the barn in the horse ambulance. It turned out to be a condylar fracture of the left front leg that will require surgery.
The Derby trail that had already been marred by injuries to Breeders' Cup winner Classic Empire and stakes winner McCraken, has now lost a horse who would have been the instant favorite based on the San Felipe win.
The undefeated son of Candy Ride turned away stakes winners Gormley and Iliad in the Santa Anita stretch and won by more than six lengths. But now the Derby is impossible and Mastery may never race again.
Iliad, who was going two turns for the first time, stayed up for second place and Term of Art came from last place to finish third in the seven-horse field.
The San Felipe is a mile and one-sixteenth prep for the Santa Anita Derby and with the injury to Mastery, the three year old division in California is once again wide open.