Trainer Bob Baffert told Churchill Downs officials that the gray/roan son of Wild Rush had a small knot on the outside of his left front leg, which necessitated the scratch. Baffert said the knot, which he described as being the size of a dime, was located near the tendon in the leg.
"He wasn't lame or anything on it but there is about a size of a dime there," Baffert said. "There is a little spot on the outside. These things sometimes may not be that bad. I don't think it's a career ending injury but it's enough that we don't feel comfortable about taking him out there and running him this weekend."
"We got him out and we jogged him. He's fine; he's not sore but I had a vet come in there and look at it and there is something going on there. It's probably not that bad right now but if we were to go out there and run him then you can really hurt him. We don't know the extent of the injury and we won't know until later this afternoon."
Wimbledon has a record of 2-3-0 in seven career starts which included a victory in the Louisiana Derby (GII) in March. He was coming off a fifth place finish in the Santa Anita Derby (GI).
With the defection of Wimbledon, Baffert, who has won three Kentucky Derbys, will be without a starter in the "Run for the Roses" for the first time since 1996, the longest active streak for any trainer. Jockey Jerry Bailey will also be without mount for the first time since 1991, the second most active streak in the Kentucky Derby.
At 11am Friday, Churchill Downs officials announced St Averil was also out of the race due to a recurring foot problem.
His trainer Rafael Becerra said, "His feet have been tender. We reshod him this morning, taking off the bar shoes he's been training in, but I still wasn't satisfied with the way he's traveling."
This problem had kept him on the fence until after workout last weekend. He was the last contender to commit to entering the Derby.
Dr. Ted Hill, acting state steward for the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, said in light of the scratches of Wimbledon and St. Averil, the two inside stalls of the starting gate will be left empty and the remaining horses inside of post position nine will move over to fill in the gaps. The horses is stalls 10 through 20 will be unaffected.
There has been no 20-horse Kentucky Derby field since 1984 and last minute scratches have been a problem the last 3 years. Perhaps it is time to start having an also eligible list for the Derby since there were two additional horses who wanted in, Eddington and Rock Hard Ten, who didn't make the field due to lack of graded earnings but could have moved in because of these scratches.