NEW YORK — Bertrando, the second-place finisher in the Santa Anita Derby and a horse who may have been the pace-setter in the Kentucky Derby, has been withdrawn from the Triple Crown race because he has been running temperatures of 102 degrees and slightly higher.
Normal body temperature for a horse is 100 degrees.
Trainer Bruce Headley had been planning to fly Bertrando and his stablemate, Disposal, to Kentucky on April 24 for the Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2.
"Bertrando's out of the Derby," Headley said from his barn Monday morning at Santa Anita. "This fever will set us back at least seven or eight days in training. We could bring the fever down with medication, but when you do that, you take the chance of the fever coming back when you take the horse off the medication, and then you can really have problems. We'll back off with him, and then he should bounce back and be a good horse for us later in the year."
Bothered by a cough, Bertrando had been in light training since April 4, when he ran a tiring race, leading the Santa Anita Derby until A.P. Indy passed him in the final sixteenth of a mile and won by 1 3/4 lengths. Headley lightly worked Bertrando on Friday, but was unable to do anything more than walk him around the shed row when the fever persisted during the weekend.
"We feel that the high temperature has been stabilized," said Jock Jocoy, Bertrando's veterinarian. "His blood count is normal. He's still been doing a lot of deep coughing, which started just after the Santa Anita Derby. One day he coughed about 15 times in only three or four minutes. This flu might have been coming on even before the Santa Anita Derby. That makes the race he ran seem even better."
Bertrando, a California-bred, has won four of six starts, earned almost $800,000 and finished second to A.P. Indy and Arazi, the Kentucky Derby favorite.
Winner of the Del Mar Futurity and the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita, Bertrando suffered from sore shins as a 2-year-old, but still outran all but Arazi in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. He suffered a torn hoof in that race, then won the San Felipe at Santa Anita this season, his first race in 4 1/2 months.
Bertrando is owned by his breeder, Eddie Nahem; Marshall Naify and Gus Headley, the trainer's teen-age son. Nahem and Naify have reportedly bought a substantial interest in Disposal, who ran second, a neck behind Treekster, in Saturday's California Derby at Golden Gate Fields.
Disposal was running only his second race, having beaten maidens going 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita a month ago.
"I wouldn't have shipped him (to Golden Gate) if I didn't think he was something special," Headley said.