Pletcher Will Not Have Preakness Starter
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Todd Pletcher

A probable field of seven is now expected for the Xpressbet.com Preakness Stakes (gr. I) after Todd Pletcher announced May 12 he will not have an entrant in the May 16 race at Pimlico Race Course that is the second leg of racing's Triple Crown.

Among the Pletcher trainees that had been considered for the race were grade I winners Materiality and Carpe Diem  , who finished sixth and 10th, respectively, in the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Pletcher said Materiality, winner of the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I), will be pointed toward the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), which is also under consideration for Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner Carpe Diem.

"We were considering it very seriously," Pletcher said of running Materiality in the Preakness. "Basically, it came down to we just felt two weeks was a little bit risky. We felt five weeks to the Belmont would be an advantage for him. He's been at Belmont since two days after the Derby and has been training well. He's by a Belmont-winning sire. If you come back in two weeks and you turn out to be wrong, not only could you not run well in the Preakness, it could compromise your chances in the Belmont as well."

Pletcher, the all-time leading money-earning trainer in Thoroughbred racing, had also considered Competitive Edge   and Stanford for the Preakness.

Pletcher said Competitive Edge, the undefeated winner of the Pat Day Mile (gr. III) on the Derby undercard, would run next in either the Woody Stephens (gr. II) or the Met Mile (gr. I) on Belmont Day; and Stanford, who was scratched from the Derby, is likely to run in either the Woody Stephens or Easy Goer Stakes.

As a result of Pletcher's decision, jockey Javier Castellano will now ride Lael Stables' Divining Rod in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.

Pletcher has had seven Preakness starters, with his best finish the third by Impeachment in 2000. His most recent starter, Dance City, finished fifth in 2011.

With no representatives from the Pletcher barn, the Preakness short list of probables consists of the top three from the DerbyAmerican Pharoah  , Firing Line  , and Dortmundas well as Bodhisattva, Danzig Moon, Divining Rod, and Tale of Verve.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported via Twitter that Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was en route to Baltimore with Zayat Stables' Mr. Z, who finished 13th in the Derby.

However, owner Ahmed Zayat tweeted: "Can't stop that man. Wow. Mr. Z will not run."

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