NEW YORK — Classic Empire is out of the Belmont Stakes because of an abscess in his right front foot.
Trainer Mark Casse says the abscess found Wednesday is a recurrence of the same problem that bothered the colt after his loss in the Holy Bull in February.
Classic Empire was expected to be the favorite for Saturday’s 1+-mile finale of the Triple Crown series. He was coming off a runner-up finish in the Preakness on May 20.
Casse says Classic Empire will be pointed toward the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth this summer.
The Belmont draw is later Wednesday.
Classic Empire’s absence leaves Lookin At Lee as the only horse that will have run in all three legs of the Triple Crown.
Well this didn’t go as planned.
At the beginning of the Diamond Jubile Stakes on the final day of the 2017 Royal Ascot, Growl’s rider was left in the starting gate as his horse took off and ran the entire race without him.
He hung with the pack for awhile before fading down the stretch.
ASCOT, England — American filly Lady Aurelia won at Royal Ascot for the second straight year, cruising to a three-length victory in the King’s Stand Stakes under replacement jockey John Velazquez on Tuesday.
“She’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse,” said trainer Wesley A. Ward after Lady Aurelia backed up her win in the Queen Mary Stakes in 2016.
Frankie Dettori was scheduled to ride Lady Aurelia, but pulled out of the entire meeting early Tuesday after failing to recover from an arm injury sustained when he was thrown off a horse in a parade ring last week.
Velazquez was drafted in and settled the U.S. horse into a good early position. Lady Aurelia took the lead with two furlongs to run and pulled away, winning the five-furlong race in 57.45 seconds, just short of a course record.
“This is wonderful for American racing,” said Ward, who has eight career winners at Ascot since 2009. Six of those wins have been by juveniles.
Ward has 10 entries at the prestigious meeting staged just outside London, as part of the largest contingent of U.S. runners – 14 – to compete at Royal Ascot.
Following the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II at the course ahead of the start of the meeting, racing was preceded by a minute’s silence in honor of the victims of attacks in Britain in recent weeks.