First Mission is out of the 2023 Preakness Stakes after being scratched on Friday morning. Veterinarians decided the horse’s left hind ankle was not match to run.

The Brad H. Cox educated thoroughbred was broadly thought of to contend for the second leg of the Triple Crown with morning line odds set at 5-2.

“We’re clearly very disenchanted, however the welfare of the horse is our utmost concern, and we’re going to take the required steps to find out one of the best plan of action to get him again on the monitor,” Godolphin USA bloodstock director Michael Banahan mentioned, per the Related Press. “It’s unlucky, however we all know he’s a really proficient horse and I’m certain we’ll have massive days down the highway with him.”

Kentucky Derby winner Mage stays the favourite (8-5) for Saturday’s race, which is now down to only seven horses — the smallest area since 1986.