Next week's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) lost a possible contender on Saturday when trainer Ken McPeek confirmed that R. David Randal's unbeaten Wild and Wicked would not ship to Belmont Park for the race.
McPeek said the son of Wild Again, who scored the second victory of his young career last Sunday in an allowance race at Churchill Downs, would run next in the $300,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II) on June 21 at Thistledown. McPeek, who won last year's Belmont with 70-1 shot Sarava, will still saddle Phillips Racing Partnership's Best Minister in the third jewel of the Visa Triple Crown, but said he would leave Wild and Wicked at home.
"More than anything we just decided to be more conservative, take a little more time and not throw him into the ring with the lions -- although I think he's a lion himself," McPeek said. "If we wanted to be more aggressive and throw him in there, I wouldn't be scared to. He's a special horse and you're going to hear more about him. But the Ohio Derby is probably better timing and gives us plenty of time to get ready."
It was a routine Saturday for the other Belmont Stakes contenders on the grounds at Churchill Downs.
William S. Farish's Midway Road, the runner-up in the Preakness, galloped under exercise rider Hank Hefner. The homebred son of Jade Hunter is scheduled to work on Monday or Tuesday and trainer Neil Howard said a final decision on whether he would make the trip to New York for the Belmont would be made on Monday.
Robert and Beverly Lewis' Scrimshaw, third in the Preakness, galloped under exercise rider Stacy Maker. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said the Gulch colt would work on Monday or Tuesday.