Un Ojo Exits Arkansas Derby With 'Legitimate Excuse,' Connections Hopeful He'll Make Trip To Louisville - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Un Ojo Exits Arkansas Derby With ‘Legitimate Excuse,’ Connections Hopeful He’ll Make Trip To Louisville

Un Ojo trains at Oaklawn Park ahead of the Arkansas Derby

Rebel Stakes winner Un Ojo finished a disappointing eighth in Sautrday's Grade 1, $1.25 million Arkansas Derby, but trainer Ricky Courville told bloodhorse.com that the 3-year-old gelding by Laoban had suffered multiple abrasions and scrapes during the “roughly run” contest. One cut, on Un Ojo's left shoulder, required several surgical staples to close the wound.

“He was sawed off and bounced off the fence twice. He's had some stiffness and we'll give him some time to get over it,” Courville told bloodhorse.com. “We're still going to the Kentucky Derby so far. He had a legitimate excuse Saturday. He and (runner-up Barber Road) were making their moves together so he might have been right there with a clean trip.”

The Equibase chart indicates that Un Ojo was checked sharply at the three-eighths pole and “did not recover.”

Courville explained that Un Ojo was pressed up against the inside rail in the far turn, and that jockey Ramon Vazquez had to check Un Ojo to avoid further injury.

“He kept hitting the rail and Ramon had to check him out of there and he said the horse panicked and tried to jump the fence,” Courville told bloodhorse.com. “It was pretty bad. I was surprised there was no inquiry. Guess no one saw it or cared about it. It was a roughly run race.”

The full replay is available below.

Un Ojo will walk the shed row to recover from his stiffness for about a week, Courville said. The Arkansas Derby was held five weeks ahead of the Kentucky Derby this year, so Courville hopes there is enough time for the gelding to recover before the first Saturday in May.

Read more at bloodhorse.com.

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