Battalion Runner (inside) will bypass the Kentucky Derby after a lackluster workout April 28

Battalion Runner (inside) will bypass the Kentucky Derby after a lackluster workout April 28

Coady Photography

Battalion Runner, Malagacy to Bypass Kentucky Derby

Lookin At Lee, Sonneteer now in the 20-horse field.

Rebel Stakes (G2) winner Malagacy and Wood Memorial Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G2) runner-up Battalion Runner will both bypass the May 6 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), trainer Todd Pletcher said April 29.

Pletcher indicated in recent days that Sumaya U.S. Stable's Malagacy was highly likely to skip the first leg of the Triple Crown in the wake of the colt's fifth-place finish in the April 15 Arkansas Derby (G1). The son of Shackleford  is now expected to breeze Friday and will point for the May 20 Preakness Stakes (G1).

Battalion Runner's defection comes on the heels of a less-than-satisfactory four-furlong workout in :48 2/5 at Churchill Downs April 28. Pletcher said after the move he was not pleased with how St. Elias Stable's son of Unbridled's Song handled the main surface, adding exercise rider Nick Bush confirmed that he felt track was "cupping out" from under his mount.

"It wasn't the powerful work that I was hoping for from him," Pletcher said.

ANGST: Pletcher Breezes Four Kentucky Derby Hopefuls

With Malagacy and Battalion Runner out, Lookin At Lee and Sonneteer are now in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby lineup. 

L N R Racing's Lookin At Lee exits a third-place run in the Arkansas Derby and came in fourth in the Nov. 5 Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1). The son of Lookin At Lucky  most recently worked an easy half-mile in :51 1/5 for trainer Steve Asmussen at Churchill April 24.

Calumet Farm's homebred Sonneteer is winless in 10 starts, but the Midnight Lute  colt trained by Keith Desormeaux earned points with a runner-up effort in the March 18 Rebel and a fourth-place run in the Arkansas Derby. Buchanan (1884), Sir Barton (1919), and Brokers Tip (1933) are the only maidens to win the Kentucky Derby. Sir Barton went on to become racing's first Triple Crown winner.

Grade 3 winner Royal Mo, third last time out in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) for Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs, is now the bubble horse. The Uncle Mo  colt currently sits in the 21st position on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.