Lord Miles out of Kentucky Derby, trainer suspended

In what has been a challenging week in Louisville, Kentucky state stewards on Thursday made Lord Miles the day’s second Kentucky Derby runner to scratch. Soon after, Churchill Downs, Inc. suspended Lord Miles’s trainer, Saffie Joseph, Jr., indefinitely.

Joseph’s suspension applies only to Churchill Downs and other properties owned by Churchill Downs, Inc.

Earlier Thursday, trainer Tim Yakteen and the connections of Practical Move decided to scratch that runner from the Derby after he was found to have a high temperature. The Santa Anita Derby winner had been considered a serious contender for the roses and was 10-1 on the morning line.

The day’s two scratches allow both Cyclone Mischief (30-1), trained by Dale Romans for Albaugh Family Stables LLC, and Mandarin Hero (20-1), a Japanese-bred son of Shanghai Bobby trained by Terunobu Fujita, to draw in. The only remaining horse on the also-eligible list is Arkansas Derby runner-up King Russell, trained by Ron Moquett.

The start of the Churchill Downs meet has been marked by several equine fatalities. Among those were two mysterious deaths of horses trained by Joseph. Those horses, Parents Pride and Chasing Artie, both were owned by Ken Ramsey and both collapsed after subpar efforts.

Joseph, who had several other horses entered at Churchill this weekend, subsequently scratched all of those who, like the two who’d died, had been stabled at Keeneland. But he had intended to run Lord Miles, a homebred for Peter Vegso who was 30-1 on the morning line.

In mid-afternoon, however, Kentucky stewards announced the scratch of all of Joseph’s horses.

“For the betterment of racing, the health and welfare of our equine athletes, and the safety of our jockeys, all horses trained by trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. are scratched effective immediately and until further notice,” the stewards said in a statement. “This action is taken after consultation with Mr. Joseph, and includes Lord Miles.”


Shortly after, Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI) announced its suspension of Joseph, which “prohibits Joseph, or any trainer directly or indirectly employed by Joseph, from entering horses in races or applying for stall occupancy at all CDI-owned racetracks.”

“Given the unexplained sudden deaths, we have reasonable concerns about the condition of his horses, and decided to suspend him indefinitely until details are analyzed and understood,” said Bill Mudd, President and Chief Operating Officer of CDI. “The safety of our equine and human athletes and integrity of our sport is our highest priority. We feel these measures are our duty and responsibility.”