Bernardini won't race in Belmont

Owners say Preakness winner needs rest after running two races in three weeks

May 25, 2006|By BILL ORDINE | BILL ORDINE,SUN REPORTER

Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini will not run in the Belmont Stakes, the third jewel of horse racing's Triple Crown, on June 10.

Darley Stable, which owns the bay colt who won the Preakness by 5 1/4 lengths, made the announcement in Lexington, Ky., yesterday, saying Bernardini deserves a rest.

Before capturing the Preakness on Saturday, Bernardini won the Withers Stakes three weeks earlier on April 29. His other two races were March 4 and Jan. 7.

Already missing from the Belmont is Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, who was seriously injured after the start of the Preakness and is convalescing after leg surgery at an animal medical facility in Kennett Square, Pa.

With Bernardini and Barbaro out, it will be just the third time in 36 years that the Belmont will be run without the Kentucky Derby or Preakness winner.

In 2000, neither Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus nor Preakness winner Red Bullet ran in the Belmont, won by Commendable.

In 1970, neither Derby winner Dust Commander nor Preakness winner Personality ran in the Belmont, won by High Echelon.

Mike Trombetta, trainer for Sweetnorthernsaint, who finished second in the Preakness, said has not decided yet whether the Laurel Park-stabled colt will run at the Belmont.

"List him as a possible," Trombetta said yesterday.

"I have a lot of confidence in my horse, but I want to see how he's doing. ... I will do what's right for my horse," he added.

Trombetta said the Preakness winner's missing the Belmont could be a reflection that Triple Crown races may not have the same paramount importance to horsemen these days.

"There are choices that owners and investors have to make. ... There are other million-dollar races, other good races, for them to run their horses in," he said.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, whose Like Now finished seventh in the Preakness, said he plans to enter Jazil in the Belmont.

bill.ordine@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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