Trainer Mike Trombetta said yesterday Sweetnorthernsaint, second in the Preakness Stakes, will not compete in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.
"We're just going to take a step back and freshen him up for races in July and August," Trombetta said. "The Belmont might have been more tempting if the field had been six horses. As it is, with 11 or 12 entries, it is a pretty solid field and though my horse is still doing relatively well, I would have had a pretty tired horse after that race."
Trombetta said the Triple Crown Series provided a lot of wonderful memories, even at the Kentucky Derby where circumstances combined for a somewhat disappointing result.
"It is a tough series, and one of the reasons is the 20 horse field at the Derby," Trombetta said of the race in which Sweetnorthernsaint finished seventh. "The Derby was a lot of might-have-beens. Anyone starting like we did would have been hard-pressed to turn it around."
Sweetnorthernsaint stumbled and was bumped at the start and then stumbled again during the race. Though he put on a big push down the backstretch to be in good position at the final turn, running just behind eventual winner Barbaro, the early workload left little in his tank for the final drive down the front stretch.
In the Preakness, Trombetta said Sweetnorthernsaint did his best and would have won if not for the outsized effort produced by Bernardini, who flew like a cannonball on the final drive.
"No one was going to beat that horse that day," Trombetta said.
In Kennett Square, Pa., Barbaro had another excellent day.
"He looks great and everything is fine," said his surgeon, Dr. Dean Richardson .