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Baffert: Justify doing well after treatment for bruised heel

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Trainer Bob Baffert says Justify is doing well and is on track for the Preakness after the Kentucky Derby winner was treated for a bruised heel on his left hind foot.

Baffert says Justify was irritated by some gravel on Sunday morning outside the barn at Churchill Downs after winning the Derby on a muddy track. Baffert said on a conference call Thursday that Justify’s feet were tender following the race but added the problem is over after quick treatment.

Preakness Stakes: What Time, Where to Watch and More.

“He actually came out of the race really well,” Baffert said from California. “It’s all behind us, and we’re on to Baltimore.”

Justify is undefeated in four starts and expected to be a heavy favorite against Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip and others at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on May 19. He returned to the track at Churchill Downs to gallop Thursday, with assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes reporting to Baffert that Justify was sharp.

Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm, which co-owns Justify, was concerned about the horse’s foot condition Sunday and credited Baffert and his team for resolving it in four days.

“Obviously it’s something that was concerning at the time, but at the same time, you’ve got to have a perspective that you just do the best you can and then things will work out the way they’re supposed to work out,” Walden said.

Veteran trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who is expected to saddle Bravazo and Sporting Chance in the Preakness, watched Justify up close Thursday and said he looked excellent.

“He jogged off perfectly sound, he turned around and galloped very strong,” Lukas said. “I know everybody was watching and looking for a little crack in the armor, but it wasn’t there today and he looked excellent out there. Very good. And showed no signs of what I call stress – breaking out or anything. It was a good day for him. He had a wonderful day.”

Santa Anita cancels racing after heavy rain inundates track

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Santa Anita has canceled its eight-race card because of wet weather after 3+ inches of rain dropped on the Southern California racetrack in three days.

Officials at the track in Arcadia say heavy overnight rains and more rain throughout the day Thursday made it necessary to cancel. They say the track will make every effort to reschedule the races in the immediate future.

Track superintendent Andy LaRocco says an additional 2 inches of rain was forecast for Thursday.

Live racing will resume on Friday with eight races.

Kentucky Derby purse up to $3 million

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Derby’s purse will be raised to $3 million this May, an increase of $1 million and the first boost in 14 years.

Churchill Downs said Thursday the winner of the 145th running will receive $1.86 million. The runner-up will earn $600,000, with third place worth $300,000, fourth place $150,000 and fifth place $90,000.

The Derby purse had been $2 million since 2005 and $1 million from 1996-2004.

Track President Kevin Flanery attributes the increase to more bettors using historical racing machines – the electronic form of parimutuel betting – at a recently opened facility near the track.

The second and third legs of the Triple Crown offer total purses of $1.5 million in the Preakness and Belmont stakes.

The purse for the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on May 3 was raised by $250,000 to $1.25 million. It had been worth $1 million since 2011 and was worth $500,000 from 1996-2010.

Churchill Downs also increased purses for some races on the Derby Day undercard on May 4.