05/29/2011 11:39AM

Belmont Stakes: Alternation will rest rather than run

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Peter Pan winner Alternation will bypass the Belmont Stakes in order to be fresh for other races this summer.

Alternation, who won the Peter Pan Stakes on May 14, will skip the Belmont Stakes on June 11 and point for major races later this summer, trainer Donnie Von Hemel said Sunday morning.

"We looked things over and decided to take a breather," said Von Hemel, who trains Alternation for the Pin Oak Stable of Josephine Abercrombie. "The horse is fine. We just decided to point for races like the Jim Dandy and the Travers. He's had four or five races early in the year. We want to give him a little breather now, then make some noise later."

BELMONT STAKES: Replays, contenders, and news updates

Alternation won a pair of races at Oaklawn Park earlier in the year, flipped in the gate before the Rebel Stakes and had to be scratched, then was fifth in the Arkansas Derby prior to the Peter Pan.

Ramon Dominguez rode Alternation in the Peter Pan, so he becomes available for another mount.

One possibility for Dominguez might be Stay Thirsty, whom Dominguez rode to a 12th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby last time out. On Sunday morning at Belmont Park, Stay Thirsty worked six furlongs in company in 1:12.40, according to Jonathan Thomas, the Belmont Park-based assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher.

The Belmont Stakes is the final leg of the Triple Crown. As of Sunday, both Animal Kingdom, the Kentucky Derby winner, and Shackleford, the Preakness winner, were pointing for the race.

-     additional reporting by David Grening