05/31/2006 12:00AM

Sweetnorthernsaint to skip Belmont

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Sweetnorthernsaint, who was the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby and runner-up in the Preakness Stakes, will skip the final leg of the Triple Crown, the June 10 Belmont Stakes, his trainer, Mike Trombetta, said Wednesday.

As a result, no horse in this year's Triple Crown will have competed in all three legs. Twenty horses ran in the Derby, but only three came back in the Preakness. Barbaro, the Derby winner, suffered career-ending injuries in the Preakness. Brother Derek, who was fourth in the Preakness after finishing in a dead heat for fourth in the Derby, has returned to California and is being freshened.

"We don't want to overdo it," Trombetta said. "Now seems like the right time to take half a step back."

Trombetta said Sweetnorthernsaint would be pointed to the Haskell Invitational or West Virginia Derby in August, with a prep in July.