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Belmont Stakes field reduced to eight as Carpe Diem and The Truth Or Else are withdrawn

Carpe Diem has pulled out of the Belmont

Carpe Diem has pulled out of the Belmont Stakes. Credit: Getty Images / Andy Lyons

Carpe Diem, which means "seize the day" in Latin, will not have that opportunity Saturday in the Belmont Stakes.

Trainer Todd Pletcher announced Monday morning that the three-time stakes winner, who is not injured, will skip the Belmont. He'll be pointed for the Jim Dandy Stakes on Aug. 1 at Saratoga or the Haskell at Monmouth Park the next day.

The Belmont field was reduced to eight with the withdrawals of Carpe Diem, who was rated a serious contender, and long shot The Truth Or Else. Trainer Ken McPeek tweeted that his colt has a "minor" ankle problem. If only seven horses challenge Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah, it will be the Belmont's smallest field since 2007, when the Pletcher-trained filly Rags to Riches defeated six rivals.

Elliott Walden, CEO of Carpe Diem's co-owner, WinStar Farm, said the colt was not in prime condition for the 1 1/2-mile marathon. "Todd and I just felt he wasn't 100 percent going into a phenomenal race [against] a horse of such stature," Walden told the New York Racing Association. "He was maybe 85 to 90 percent."

Carpe Diem turned in two quick workouts at Belmont since finishing a career-worst 10th in the Kentucky Derby. Walden said, however, that he "drifted slightly" in Friday's work, which raised concerns.

Pletcher is expected to enter Materiality and Madefromlucky at Wednesday's post-position draw. He said two-time Belmont winner John Velazquez will ride Materiality and two-time Eclipse champion Javier Castellano will be on Peter Pan winner Madefromlucky.


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