Grade 1 winner Sharp Azteca, who had been pointing to the March 26 Godolphin Mile sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City-District One (G2), will forego that race and instead get some time off, according to trainer Jorge Navarro.
"We don't want to take the chance," Navarro said in a call from Dubai, noting that the 5-year-old son of Freud seems off. "The horse is first. It's not about the race. We've got to run horses when they're doing good. For him to win the race, he has to be on his 'A' game.
"I didn't feel that he came back right from the last workout. I wasn't happy with the way he came back home and, he's been going pretty hard for the last three years. I think this is the time ... we made a decision and said, 'You know what, we're gonna give him the 45 days, 30 days then bring him back."
Sharp Azteca finished eighth in the Jan. 27 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) going 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park in his most recent effort for owners Gelfenstein Farm, M. Scharf, A. Quartarolo, and Loooch Racing Stables.
In 2017 Sharp Azteca continued a 10-race streak in which he placed third or better, beginning with the Super Derby Prelude Stakes at Louisiana Downs in 2016. During that run he had victories in the Hardacre Mile Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2), the Monmouth Cup Stakes (G3), the Kelso Handicap (G2), and the Cigar Mile Handicap Presented by NYRA Bets (G1).
Sharp Azteca also finished second in last year's Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park and third in the 2017 edition of the Godolphin Mile, before a runner-up effort to Battle of Midway in the Las Vegas Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) Nov. 3 at Del Mar.
"We have the Met Mile three months from now," Navarro said. "We have a bunch of good races in the middle of the year. Our main focus is going to be the Breeders' Cup. I mean, if he's ready, if he's doing good all the way through next year for Dubai then we will try it again."