08/29/2013 8:43AM

Saratoga: Fort Larned to be scratched from Woodward Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Fort Larned "wasn't himself behind" after a Thursday gallop, trainer Ian Wilkes said.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Fort Larned, last year's Breeders' Cup Classic winner, will scratch from Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga due to a hind end issue, trainer Ian Wilkes said Thursday.

Wilkes said he didn't like the way Fort Larned looked coming off the track following a Thursday morning gallop.

[SARATOGA 2013: Complete meet coverage, exclusive DRF videos]

"This morning the horse wasn't himself behind," Wilkes said. "I don't think it's anything serious. You have to be 110 percent in these races. These are good horses.

Wilkes said he would try to train Fort Larned up to the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 28.

Fort Larned is the second major defection from the Woodward in two days. Cross Traffic didn't enter the race as his connections opted to wait for the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

The scratch of Fort Larned, fifth in the Whitney, leaves a field of six for the Woodward and will change the pace dynamic significantly.

Mucho Macho Man and Paynter now look to be the primary speed horses.

The rest of the field is Successful Dan, Ron the Greek, Flat Out and Alpha.