Jockey Smith gets surprise Kentucky Derby mount; field set at 19
Favorite Omaha Beach bowed out of the Kentucky Derby, but jockey Mike Smith gets to hang around.
Churchill Downs confirmed Friday morning that Smith, the 53-year-old jockey ticketed to ride Omaha Beach on Saturday, will be atop Cutting Humor.
Omaha Beach scratched Wednesday because of an entrapped epiglottis, and Smith did not expect to remain in Louisville for the weekend. Meanwhile, Haikal joined the list as an official scratch.
A two-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey (Giacomo, Justify), Smith turned down the chance to stay with Bob Baffert-trained Roadster following a win at the Santa Anita Derby.
Cutting Humor, a longshot at 30-1, won the Sunland Park Derby on March 24 and is trained by Todd Pletcher.
Haikal, a 30-1 shot at Churchill Downs, exited the field with an abscess on his front left hoof ahead of Friday morning's scratch deadline of 9 a.m.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Haikal was too sore to train, and the decision was made official Friday to pull him from the Derby field.
Omaha Beach, a 4-1 morning-line favorite following the post draw, was scratched Wednesday and was replaced by Bodexpress, the only also-eligible alternate available.
With Haikal out of the Run for the Roses, the final Kentucky Derby field is set at 19.