Elmont, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – A pair of withdrawals Monday morning have reduced the size of Saturday’s $1.5 million Belmont Stakes to eight 3-year- olds.
It was announced that Blue Grass Stakes winner Carpe Diem, 10th in the Kentucky Derby, and The Truth Or Else have both been withdrawn from racing in the 147th “Test of the Champion” when Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner American Pharoah goes for racing’s Triple Crown.
Carpe Diem, co-owned by WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Farms, is trained by Todd Pletcher who will saddle Madefromlucky and Materiality in the final leg of the Triple Crown.
“We have decided not to run Carpe Diem in Belmont. To good a horse to run at 90%,” WinStar’s Elliott Walden tweeted.
The Truth Or Else is trained and co-owned by Ken McPeek. The colt was to have been ridden on Saturday by Edgar Prado.
“The Truth Or Else is Not being entered into Belmont. Filling in ankle. Minor but everything happens for a reason,” McPeek posted on Twitter.
American Pharoah had his final workout Monday morning at Churchill Downs for the Belmont Stakes.
Trained by Bob Baffert for Zayat Stables, American Pharoah covered five furlongs, with Martin Garcia in the saddle, over a fast main track in 1:00.20. With Baffert in attendance, the colt galloped out six furlongs in 1:13, seven furlongs in 1:26, and a mile in 1:39.60.
“Everything went really well today,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “I was worried about the rain a little bit but the track was in perfect shape. He went around there really nice and it sort of let up a little bit when he worked so it went just as we thought. He just kept on clicking right along and so now we just play the waiting game. We’ll ship out tomorrow morning and hope everything goes well when we go to the Big Apple.”
The Belmont Stakes now has a probable field of eight 3-year-olds: American Pharoah (jockey Victor Espinoza, trainer Bob Baffert); Frammento (Mike Smith, Nick Zito); Frosted (Joel Rosario, Kiaran McLaughlin); Keen Ice (Kent Desormeaux, Dale Romans); Madefromlucky (Javier Castellano, Todd Pletcher); Materiality (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher); Mubtaahij (Irad Ortiz Jr., Mike de Kock) and Tale of Verve (Gary Stevens, Dallas Stewart).
The post position draw will take place Wednesday at 11:15 a.m. ET at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.
Rain is in the forecast for Saturday at Belmont Park. Showers in the morning then partly cloudy in the afternoon. Chance of rain 50 percent and a post time temperature of 78.