Nagging Hoof Issue Means No Fountain Of Youth Bid For Classic Empire

Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile) wins The Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland.

John Oxley's juvenile champion Classic Empire will not make his next start in the March 4 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream, as trainer Mark Casse had tentatively planned. The sophomore son of Pioneerof the Nile was diagnosed with a severe foot abscess after a poor third-place performance in the Feb. 4 Holy Bull Stakes, and the issue is still affecting the colt, according to

“He's not going to miss any training,” said Casse. “I just want the foot to heal a little better. Making the Fountain of Youth isn't that important to us. We still have plenty of time and we want to do the right thing by the horse.”

A breeze scheduled for Monday has been postponed, Casse said, which was the main reason that Classic Empire would not be ready for the Fountain of Youth. Casse has named the March 11 Tampa Bay Derby as a possible alternative for the colt's next start toward the first Saturday in May.


-- by The Paulick Report and published on

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