05/12/2008 12:00AM

Harlem Rocker will skip Preakness


ELMONT, N.Y. - The undefeated colt Harlem Rocker will not run in Saturday’s 133rd Preakness Stakes and instead will be pointed to the $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine on June 22, his connections announced Monday.

Although trainer Todd Pletcher wanted to run, owner Frank Stronach decided to take a more conservative approach. Harlem Rocker, a son of Macho Uno, has won all three of his starts, including a 2½-length score in the Withers Stakes.

“He felt like it’s early in this horse’s career, it's a long year,” Pletcher said at his Belmont Park barn on Monday. “He wants to play it conservative for now.”

The absence of Harlem Rocker brings the Preakness field down to 12 and should make Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown an even stronger favorite. Pletcher will still be represented in the Preakness with Behindatthebar.