06/06/2011 4:38PM

Belmont Park: Smiling Tiger to skip True North

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Barbara D. Livingston
Smiling Tiger will not be shipping to Belmont Park for Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 True North Handicap.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Though Jeff Bonde had a reservation for the multiple Grade 1 winner Smiling Tiger on a Tuesday flight from California to New York, the trainer said Monday afternoon that he would not be shipping the horse here for Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 True North Handicap, for which he would have likely been the favorite.

“We changed our mind this morning,” Bonde said Monday by phone from California. “I went back and forth about it. I think he needs a little more space between races.”

Smiling Tiger, who finished sixth in the Churchill Downs Handicap on Derby Day after winning the Grade 3 Count Fleet at Oaklawn and Grade 2 San Carlos at Santa Anita, will now target the Grade 1 Triple Bend at Hollywood Park on July 2.

A field of seven is now shaping up for the True North. The prospective field includes a Paul Pompa-owned entry of D’ Funnybone and This Ones for Phil; Calibrachoa, Trappe Shot, Irrefutable, Rule by Night, and Wildcat Brief.

Francesco Rules to miss Kelly Kip

Francesco Rules, the probable favorite for Thursday’s $60,000 Kelly Kip Stakes for 2-year-olds is expected to scratch from the race due to inflammation in a foreleg, trainer David Fawkes said Monday.

Francesco Rules, a son of Roman Ruler, won his debut by 2 1/2 lengths here May 5 and likely would have been favored for the Kelly Kip at 5 1/2 furlongs.

“He wasn’t right,” Fawkes said. “We’ll give him some time. He’s got a long campaign ahead of him.”

The race, run as the fifth, will scratch down to a field of four, including a trio of Maryland shippers – Getupwiththesun, Threeanddonedan, and Suntorious as well as well as the Florida invader Large Kaufy.