05/02/2014 8:06AM

Kentucky Derby: Pablo Del Monte scratched

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Barbara D. Livingston
Pablo Del Monte, who drew in to the Kentucky Derby when Hoppertunity scratched, will skip the race and look toward the Preakness.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Pablo Del Monte will not run Saturday as a drawn-in also-eligible in the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, it was announced early Friday by the connections of the Florida-bred colt.

There had been doubt whether Pablo Del Monte would run after a spot became available with the scratch of Hoppertunity early Thursday. Wesley Ward, who bred, trains, and co-owns Pablo Del Monte, said after a phone conversation Friday morning with others in the ownership group that they “chose the prudent option” and will look instead toward the second leg of the Triple Crown, the May 17 Preakness at Pimlico.

A majority interest in Pablo Del Monte is owned by the Ireland-based Coolmore group of Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith, with Ward owning 25 percent.

Pablo Del Monte would have had to start from the outside post in a field of 20, which now stands at 19 with his scratch. Pablo Del Monte would have carried saddle towel No. 21 with Jeffrey Sanchez aboard as a 50-1 chance on the Derby morning line. There were no other also-eligibles entered.

A spot became available after Hoppertunity, the second choice on the morning line, was scratched by trainer Bob Baffert because of a minor foot injury. The morning line was adjusted afterward, with California Chrome remaining the 5-2 program favorite and Wicked Strong becoming the second choice at 6-1.

With Hoppertunity having vacated post 11, the 10 horses to the inside will not move one spot farther toward the outside, with Vicar’s In Trouble actually breaking from the second gate and Wicked Strong from the outside post.

The speedy Pablo Del Monte was sired by the Coolmore stallion Giant’s Causeway and produced by One Hot Wish, a standout sprinter owned and trained by Ward. The chesnut colt most recently ran third as the pacesetter in the April 12 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. He won his first two career starts before finishing fifth in the Generous on turf, fourth in the Gulfstream Derby, and third in the Hutcheson.