10/19/2006 12:00AM

Strong Contender to pass on BC Classic

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Strong Contender, the winner of the Super Derby, will bypass the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4 and will not race again until early next year, trainer John T. Ward Jr. said on Thursday.

Ward said the decision to skip the Classic was made on Wednesday night, after consulting with the colt's owner, John Oxley.

"We want to have a very good 4-year-old year. We think that what it would take to prepare him for the Classic would delay him in that process," Ward said.

Strong Contender will head to Florida this winter, with his first major objective the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 3 at Gulfstream Park, according to Ward. Ward said Strong Contender likely would prep for the Donn in the Hal's Hope at Gulfstream on Jan. 6.