05/17/2011 9:23AM

Preakness: Nehro declared out by Zayat

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Barbara D. Livingston
Kentucky Derby runner-up Nehro will skip the Preakness and be pointed for the Belmont.

Nehro, the Kentucky Derby runner-up, will not run in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico, owner Ahmed Zayat said early Tuesday morning.

"It's a very hard decision, but I want to err on the side of caution," Zayat said. "He couldn't look any better. His work on Monday was absolutely awesome. I'm just concerned about him having four hard races in eight weeks, even if, outwardly, he doesn't appear to be showing it.

"I want to be super-cautious. I want to keep him happy and healthy for the rest of the year. We are in a great position to have a horse who can run in these classics. We will point now for the Belmont, God willing."

Zayat said he conferred with trainer Steve Asmussen, assistant trainer Scott Blasi, and exercise rider Carlos Rosas about Nehro. He said both he and Asmussen were "wavering" on whether to run. Nehro has run three times in the last six weeks. The Preakness would have been his fourth start in eight weeks.

PREAKNESS STAKES 2011: Contender profiles and news updates

"He's a nice horse. We want to protect the horse," Zayat said. "Another goal we have is the Breeders' Cup Classic, since it is at Churchill Downs and he ran well there in the Derby. He loves Churchill Downs. This is the best decision for the long term, even though it would be a privilege and an honor to be in a classic race like the Preakness."

With Nehro out of the Preakness, that moves Isn't He Perfect into the prospective starting field of 14. Fifteen are expected to be entered on Wednesday, with Saratoga Red currently on the outside looking in.