Grade 1 winner Audible, third in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) last time out, will not contest the June 9 Belmont Stakes (G1), his connections confirmed May 25.
After Audible did not breeze Friday morning at Belmont Park as originally planned, trainer Todd Pletcher said via text that the son of Into Mischief will be freshened with either the July 29 betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park or the July 28 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Race Course as his next possible target.
"After talking to (WinStar Farm president) Elliott (Walden), we decided to freshen him up and point for a summer campaign," Pletcher said. "I don't feel like he's doing quite as well as he was leading into the Derby. We've kind of had a couple of weeks here where a lot of his training has been on sloppy tracks, but now that we've had some good weather and some good surfaces, I just don't feel like he's where he needs to be to feel like he's going to win the Belmont."
Audible is owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners—the same group that campaigns dual classic winner Justify, who is attempting to become just the 13th horse to sweep the American Triple Crown. When Justify headed back to the track at Churchill Downs May 24 for his first gallop since capturing the May 19 Preakness Stakes (G1), Walden acknowledged the unique situation the owners were in—having one horse going for the history books while contemplating starting another of their top runners against him.
"Obviously you have a Triple Crown on the line, so there are all kinds of factors to it," Walden said. "It's different when you've won two of out of three than when you've won one out of three."
WinStar and China Horse Club also co-own graded stakes winner Quip, whom they did start against Justify in the Preakness. Quip finished last in the field of eight.
Audible captured the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) and Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1) this year to stamp himself among the leading sophomore runners. The bay colt rallied from midpack in the Kentucky Derby to get up for third under jockey Javier Castellano, beaten just a head for second by juvenile champion Good Magic.
Pletcher, who has won three editions of the Belmont Stakes, including last year's running with Tapwrit, still figures to be well-represented in this year's 12-furlong test.
Graded stakes winners Vino Rosso and Noble Indy—each co-owned by Mike Repole—worked in company for the seven-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner Friday, getting the verbal thumbs-up after they completed a half-mile in a bullet :47.04. With Javier Castellano aboard, Noble Indy worked on the inside of Vino Rosso, ridden by John Velazquez, on Belmont Park's main track shortly after the renovation break.
The pair hit the wire at the same time and galloped out five furlongs together in :59 4/5 seconds, according to New York Racing Association clockers. Neither horse sported blinkers, which they wore in their respective races this spring.
"Vino Rosso and Noble Indy both breezed exceptionally well," Pletcher said. "It was a little quicker than we wanted, but they both seemed to do it well in hand, very comfortable, galloped out strongly. After talking to everybody, I think both of them are in the mix for the Belmont now.
"I was surprised watching it at how fast they were going because they didn't look like they were going that fast. Javier on Noble Indy and Johnny on Vino Rosso were sitting motionless, and I cautioned them on the radio a couple times, 'Easy guys, easy, you're going a little quick.' You could see they were sitting still, but if there was a right kind of fast work, it was done easily and it didn't seem to stress the horses."
Both colts are exiting starts in the Kentucky Derby, where Vino Rosso was ninth and Noble Indy 17th. Noble Indy is co-owned by WinStar Farm.
"WinStar is fully on board with running (Noble Indy) if the horse continues to do well," Pletcher said. "The breeze this morning was, I think, as good as I've seen him breeze."