NEW YORK (AP) _ Rock Hard Ten, one of the favorites in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, was scratched from the $4.7 million race with a bruised right front foot.
Trainer Richard Mandella discovered the injury Friday when his 4-year-old colt returned to the barn after galloping 1 5/8 miles around Belmont Park. The injured area is located on the soft underside of the foot.
The colt bruised his left front foot a week ago, but Mandella said it wasn’t an issue when Rock Hard Ten arrived at Belmont Park earlier this week.
``Rock Hard Ten came up with a new problem ... `` Mandella said. ``The left front foot he bruised last week is fine. Whether this is related to the first problem or not will be the topic of a lot of conversation.
``He won’t run because he would be too tender on the right foot and he might hurt himself somewhere else. We can’t take that chance as far as running.″
Rock Hard Ten, unbeaten in three races this year, was the second favorite behind Saint Liam and a candidate for Horse of the Year. Rock Hard Ten is 4-for-4 since Mandella took over as trainer, and won the Strub Stakes, Santa Anita Handicap and Goodwood Handicap this year.
Mandella, who won the 2003 Classic with Pleasantly Perfect, said the injury was minor and hoped Rock Hard Ten would be able to race next year. Plans called for Rock Hard Ten to be shipped back to California on Tuesday.