King Fury Out Of Derby With A Fever, Elevated White Cell Count - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

King Fury Out Of Derby With A Fever, Elevated White Cell Count

King Fury galloping at Churchill Downs on Friday, April 23

King Fury, 20-1 on the morning line for tomorrow's Kentucky Derby, will be scratched after trainer Kenny McPeek revealed the colt spiked a high fever Friday afternoon after galloping in the morning. Blood tests revealed an elevated white cell count, which is typical of an infection.

“I feel gutted for Paul Fireman, Gonçalo Torrealba, and Brian Hernandez and all the people who have worked so hard to get him to this race but unfortunately he is not 100%” said McPeek in a video posted to Twitter. “This is a horse who had been doing really well all week. Anybody who had been watching him train had to be impressed; I know I was. We felt pretty confident going into this race.”

McPeek said the team will regroup and point towards another race and mentioned the Travers could be a long-term goal. He expected the colt will recover.

“Everyone from Fern Circle, Kenny's team, and Three Chimneys are disappointed that King Fury will not be able to run tomorrow,” said co-ownership group Fern Circle Stables on Twitter. “He's been training amazing this week, but it is important to do what's right for King Fury. He has a bright future ahead.”

King Fury was coming to the race off a decisive win in the Grade 3 Lexington at Keeneland and had a win in the Street Sense to his credit as well.

Brian Hernandez Jr. had been set to ride the colt.


King Fury was number 16 in the program. With the news of his impending scratch, Churchill officials announced all horses to his outside will shift one gate toward the inside, leaving the 20 gate empty. The program numbers will stay the same.

Paulick Report Icon

Receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts, promotions, and much more!

Ask Ray?

Have a question for Ray that you'd like answered? Have a news tip? Ray will go to his network of sources in pursuit of an answer.

Ask Ray