Trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed mid-afternoon on April 30 that Stonestreet Stables' and Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith's Malibu Moon colt, runner-up in the March 28 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) last time out, will bypass the Derby. He had drawn post 11.
"We entered the horse in the race to see what sort of post he might draw," Pletcher said. "We were on the fence as to whether or not to run him, but we thought we'd take a look. But after seeing the draw and talking to the owners, we decided it might be best to take him out and consider other options.
"We're thinking now that either the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II at Belmont Park on May 9) or the Preakness Stakes (gr. I at Pimlico Race Course May 16) might be better spots for him. The horse is fine. We'll train him tomorrow morning and we'll probably work him the morning of the Derby before we ship him to New York.
"We didn't wait to scratch him. We did it now to ensure that the also-eligibles would have their chance to run. We think him coming out now is for the best of all."
Mossarosa's Frammento, a Midshipman colt trained by Hall of Fame horseman Nick Zito, will draw into the race and starts from the outside post in a field of 20 while wearing the No. 21 saddle towel. He will be ridden by Corey Nakatani. If there are no further scratches, this will mark the first time since 2010 that Hall of Fame trainers Zito, Bob Baffert, and D. Wayne Lukas have all started Derby horses.
Should he start according to plan, Frammento will be the first also-eligible to race in the Derby. Also-eligibles have been permitted for the race beginning in 2012. Last year Pablo Del Monte drew in off the also-eligible list but his connections opted not to start.
Last time out, Frammento was fourth in the April 4 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. He was third in the March 21 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), and ran sixth in the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) earlier this season in Florida.
Had Frammento finished third in the Blue Grass instead of fourth, he would have picked up 10 more qualifying points toward the Derby to hold the spot as the 20th point earner on the road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
"It has been frustrating, because he is a true distance horse," said Zito, who has won the Derby with Strike the Gold in 1991 and Go for Gin in 1994.
Frammento has one victory, a second, and a third under his girth from seven starts, that win coming last October when he broke his maiden going 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland. He will be the 26th Derby starter for Zito.
"I got the call from the racing office this afternoon," Zito said. "We are all excited. We made it. Everybody is happy. He has been training great. I know we will have to break from the 20, but that is a lot better than Post Zero!"