Bookmaker Favorite Eskenderya Out of Kentucky Derby
Eskendereya would have been a huge favorite in Kentucky Derby offshore betting but that role now is likely to go to Lookin at Lucky.
Bookmaker odds listed Eskendereya at 2-1 in the Kentucky Derby. The defection of the Todd Pletcher trained horse radically changes the race. Pletcher said that he noticed swelling between the ankle and knee of the left front leg. He informed owner Ahmed Zayat of the development. "We were still kind of hoping for a miracle overnight and we didn't get it," Pletcher said. "It's the worst of timing." Pletcher is hoping that the injury is not career-threatening. "It's a tough one," said Pletcher.
Zayat Stables had last year’s Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile. It has not been a good year for the Stables. They filed for bankruptcy protection in February. Zayat is facing a lawsuit from Fifth Third Bank as well. He is likely to be selling Eskendereya and he would have gotten a lot more out of the horse had he won the Derby vs. the bookmaker odds. Jess Jackson, who owns Rachel Alexandra had expressed interest in owning Eskendereya.
The loss of Eskenderya is a huge blow not only to Zayat Stables but to Todd Pletcher who is trying to end an 0-for-24 drought in the Derby. "I don't think we've ever had one at this stage of his development that was that good," Pletcher said. "It's the first time I felt like we've gotten here with a horse that could withstand the three-race series."
Lookin at Lucky will likely take over the favorite’s role in offshore wagering at the bookmaker. Trainer Bob Baffert had called Eskendereya a star so he can’t be too upset the horse is not in the race. Trainer Nick Zito should also be pleased as the defection could get his horse Jackson Bend into the race. Zito already has Ice Box in the race. "You've got to have luck in this game though," said Zito. This is the second straight year the bookmaker favorite in the Derby has been scratched. Last year it was I Want Revenge who was scratched the morning of the race.
With Eskenderya out of the race it could be that Pletcher decides to enter the filly Devil May Care. Jockey John Velazquez who was going to ride Eskenderya would be aboard Devil May Care if he is entered.