"We call it flying under the radar," he said. "You guys might call it lack of respect. We're a small stable. We have some good horses. We've been to the Derby every other year. This is our third one."
On Friday, when his horse, Black Onyx, came up lame after a morning gallop, Breen announced that this would not, in fact, be his third Kentucky Derby. He scratched the winner of the Spiral — which launched Animal Kingdom toward Derby glory in 2011 — after X-rays revealed a non-displaced chip in his front left ankle. It's unclear whether the injury will require surgery.
"We noticed a little swelling in the ankle this morning, previous to training," Breen said. "It brought major concern right away. He went out, he trained, he did gallop. He came back and was, say, a one out of five lameness."
Joe Bravo, a third-generation jockey and veteran of the New Jersey circuit, said he had not sensed any problems the last two times he rode Black Onyx.
"I'm just very thankful that the horse is going to be OK," Bravo said. "Maybe it's a blessing in disguise."
Black Onyx did not scratch early enough to allow also-eligible Fear the Kitten into the field. The Churchill Downs stewards decided to keep the No. 1 post — which trainers and jockeys dread — open.