Following the recent injury to and retirement of Nadal, trainer Bob Baffert has another unbeaten 3-year-old off the trail.
Baffert on Saturday told Ray Paulick, publisher of Paulick Report, that recent Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Charlatan will miss the June 20 Belmont Stakes and be out through the 2020 Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 with a filling in his ankle.
The Hall of Fame trainer expects Charlatan will have to undergo surgery to repair the area, saying it's "not even a flake, but we've got to stop on him. He'll be out 45 days.”
That's enough missed training to return early this fall. The Oct. 3 Preakness Stakes, the final leg of this year's extended Triple Crown series, remains in play.
Charlatan, who in his February debut and March allowance wins registered triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures, took them wire to wire in the May 2 Arkansas Derby. Baffert was considering either the Belmont Stakes or one-turn Woody Stephens (G1), also on June 20 in New York, for the colt's next start while operating under the pall of an initial positive test out of the Arkansas Derby.
Connections are awaiting the return of a split sample before Arkansas racing officials could disqualify Charlatan.
By Speightstown, Charlatan won the first flight of split Arkansas Derby divisions. Nadal, by Blame, followed later in the card by winning the second division, improving to 4-for-4. Nadal was since retired having exited a work with a minor condylar fracture in his left-front.
Saturday's news arrived minutes before Authentic, Baffert's other star sophomore, was defeated for the first time in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) -- but after Cezanne, a $3.65 million Curlin colt, was unveiled with a winning debut for the barn.
With five Kentucky Derby wins, Baffert is one short of the all-time record for trainers set by Ben Jones.