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.