05/11/2009 12:00AM

Hull targets Woody Stephens, not Preakness

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BALTIMORE, Md. - Hull, the unbeaten winner of the Derby Trial, will not be entered in the Preakness, and will instead by pointed for the Woody Stephens Stakes on Belmont Day, said Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor Stable, which co-owns Hull with Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and Gary Barber.

"When we came up with the idea of running in the Preakness, there was no Big Drama, no Rachel Alexandra," Irwin said. "I don't like the way the race is shaping up for our horse. There are too many question marks. He's going the right way, and I don't want to mess him up."

Hull's defection leaves a prospective field of 13 for Saturday's race, which will be drawn on Wednesday. Hull's absence figures to alter the way the race is run, since Hull has raced on or just off the lead in fast-paced one-turn races in his three victories.