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First Mission, Keeneland’s Grade 3 Stonestreet Lexington winner, was declared out of Saturday’s 148th Preakness Stakes (G1) early Friday morning with an unspecified left hind ankle issue, owner Godolphin announced.
First Mission, who is trained by Brad Cox, was the second choice in the morning line for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
“There was just a little concern by the 1/ST racing veterinarian team,” Michael Banahan, Godolphin USA’s Director of Bloodstock said by phone, referencing the owner of the Maryland Jockey Club’s Pimlico Race Course. “They thought maybe it was a minor issue with the left hind ankle. You just really couldn’t do proper diagnostics onsite, on the track. So we decided collaboratively that the best thing to do was to bring him down to Rood & Riddle (equine hospital in Lexington) and let Dr. (Larry) Bramlage do a full exam. He was doing great at Pimlico. But that’s the way it goes.
“It’s unfortunate, but we know he’s a very talented horse and I’m sure we’ll have big days down the road with him.”
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