07/05/2009 12:00AM

Fabulous Strike scratched from Tom Fool

Email

ELMONT, N.Y. - Believing his horse was at a disadvantage in the race, trainer Todd Beattie scratched Fabulous Strike out of Sunday's Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap at Belmont Park. Instead, Beattie will now point the 6-year-old gelding to the Grade 2, $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 9.

Beattie told New York Racing Association officials that he was leery of his horse having to concede 11 pounds to the 3-year-old Munnings in a seven-furlong race. Fabulous Strike is winless in three starts at that distance, while Munnings is coming off a monster performance in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at seven furlongs on June 6.

"I have a lot of respect for Munnings and we were giving him 11 pounds today," said Beattie, who trains Fabulous Strike for Walter Downey. "With the difference in weight, drawing the one hole, and going seven furlongs, we just felt there wasn't a lot working in his favor. He ran a monstrous effort four weeks ago. I had a long discussion with Mr. Downey and he felt the same."

The Vanderbilt, a race Fabulous Strike missed last year due to a stone bruise, is run at six furlongs, Fabulous Strike's preferred distance. Fabulous Strike won the True North Handicap at Belmont on June 6, running six furlongs in 1:07.85, which, when converted to fifths, is 1:07 4/5, equal to the stakes record of Groovy in 1987.

"The Vanderbilt going three-quarters is a much better distance for him," Beattie said. "Some extra time will be good for him."

With the Tom Fool down to a four-horse field, there will be no show or trifecta wagering.