The Pamplemousse, 9-5 morning line favorite for today’s Santa Anita Derby, was declared a stakes scratch shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday.

“Dr. (Jill) Bailey (D.V.M. representing the Los Angeles Turf Club), during her pre-race examination, identified an issue that she brought to the attention of (trainer) Julio (Canani),” explained Dr. Rick Arthur, Equine Medical Director for the California Horse Racing Board in a telephone press conference in Santa Anita’s press box around 11 a.m.

“Julio had his veterinarian, Dr. Helmuth von Bluecher, look at the horse, and agreed there was an issue that needed further diagnostics, and they scratched the horse, because what needed to be done couldn’t be done between now and race time (post time for the Santa Anita Derby was listed at 2:40 p.m.),” Arthur continued. “Julio erred on the side of the horse, which they should have done, and in line with the type of horseman he (Canani) is.

“This is a stakes scratch. He is not on the vet’s list, and frankly, I wouldn’t talk about the specifics of anything like that. It’s inappropriate for obvious reasons . . . You can scratch a horse in stakes races up to an hour before post time . . . Julio still has goals for this horse.”

Arthur said Dr. Bailey’s examination “probably was a little after seven (a.m.), and Dr. von Bleucher probably got to the barn about 9:30. They sent the horse out (to the track) and trained and looked at the horse a little bit later. Julio understands what Dr. Bailey’s concern was, and when it was pointed out to him, he became concerned as well, so I think everything worked the way it was supposed to work.

“Julio obviously is terribly, terribly disappointed . . . We’ve been in this game long enough to know that the Derby trail breaks a lot of hearts.”