Aaron and Marie Jones' Shaniko will be scratched from Saturday's Woodward Stakes (gr. I), racing manager Buzz Chace said Friday after talking to the Joneses and trainer Todd Pletcher. With Shaniko out, trainer Rick Dutrow will run both Crafty Player and Show Boot as pacesetters for Saint Liam.
Trainer Nick Zito has the other two entrants in the Woodward -- Commentator and Sir Shackleton.
"If (Shaniko) is scratched I'm going to run both horses," Dutrow said earlier on Friday. "I'm sending them to Belmont anyway just to be ready in case there is a scratch. If Shaniko does come out, I can pick up $13,000 or $14,000 just for finishing last, and it'll help us press the pace as well.
"The other two horses have different owners, and I've never done this before, but I've talked to them and everything is smooth. I believe Saint Liam is the best horse and doesn't need the other two, but he ran hard in the Whitney trying to catch Zito's horse (Commentator), and the last thing I want is another hard race before the Breeders' Cup. I'm just trying to be as safe as I can with him and still get the job done, that's all."
Chace said that they feel Shaniko is not ready to take on the likes of Saint Liam and Commentator, and he could run instead in the following Saturday's Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II). Of course, if either Saint Liam or Commentator should scratch, then Shaniko likely would run in the Woodward.
Shaniko's defection would leave the Woodward with only five horses and a unique two-trainer match race between Dutrow and Zito.