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Cupid has breathing problem, won’t run in Kentucky Derby

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“He’s a beast, ” Moquett said of Whitmore. He needs to get away from there a little bit better.

Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., celebrates as he and Creator are led to the Winners Circle after winning the Arkansas Derby horse race at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Rebel Stakes victor Cupid, who finished a disappointing tenth in the G1 Arkansas Derby, will be forced to miss the Kentucky Derby, according to the Daily Racing Form. [Trainer] Steve Asmussen told me to be patient, be patient, because you’re going to have a lot of horse. The Hall of Fame trainer will land in Kentucky sometime during Derby week.

Still, Cupid has enough points to run in the May 7 Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr., Creator paid $25.20, $8.60 and $5, while runner-up Suddenbreakingnews returned $6 and $4 – with Whitmore returning $3.80 to show.

Suddenbreakingnews, Grade 3 Southwest victor February 15, took second by a length and a half after apparently spinning his wheels at the head of the stretch. He was asked to go with three furlongs remaining, but was initially outrun by Whitmore to his outside and Creator to his inside while three paths wide, had one horse beat entering the lane while being angled six paths wide, then closed well down in the center of the track. “He ran well after that and nearly got second”.

Otherwise, Baffert sounds enthusiastic about the race this weekend and stretching out his horse.

From the fifth post position, American Pioneer will also establish a good position early with his tactical speed for trainer Wayne Catalano, and Gary and Mary West. The upside is there, as he makes only his third career start. “He was the horse I was anxious about”. The Derby field is limited to 20 starters. Dazzling Gem, owned by central Arkansas automobile dealer Steve Landers, collected 10 points for fourth place following 20 for third in the Louisiana Derby. “We’ll see how he comes out of it”, said Cox.

Cupid, heavily favored at 4-5, appeared to be in trouble when jockey Martin Garcia needed to encourage him on the final turn.

“He’s fine this morning and he’ll fly out tomorrow”, said Jimmy Barnes, the assistant to Baffert, who is headed home to Southern California or a few days before flying to Kentucky.

“I think the Kentucky Derby, the (Triple Crown) classics, are really what keep us geared up, keep the competitive juices flowing. But that’s racing. I know Martin wanted to get him in the clear”. “It took a while for the light to turn on for him. We had nowhere to go. “… When I asked him to go at the 3/8ths (pole), he wasn’t responding”. After the Rebel, more than one trainer pointed out that Cupid pretty much had things his own way.

It also gives the trainer his third Arkansas Derby victory, second only to Todd Pletcher’s four victories in Oaklawn Park’s signature race.

With Creator doing so well, Asmussen said, “it’s easy to dream about the Derby”.

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