CRAWFORD | Audible won’t challenge Justify in Belmont
Audible, trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by the same ownership group that owns Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Justify, won't compete in the Belmont Stakes.
LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) — Audible, a fast-closing third in the Kentucky Derby, will not challenge Triple Crown hopeful Justify, with whom he shares common ownership, in the Belmont Stakes early next month.
Todd Pletcher, trainer of Audible, confirmed the news via text message to BloodHorse.com and other outlets on Friday.
“After talking to Elliott (Walden, president of WinStar Farm) we decided to freshen him up and point for a summer campaign,” Pletcher told BloodHorse.com. “I don’t feel like he’s doing quite as well as he was leading into the Derby. We’ve kind of had a couple of weeks here where a lot of his training has been on sloppy tracks, but now that we’ve had some good weather and some good surfaces, I just don’t feel like he’s where he needs to be to feel like he’s going to win the Belmont.”
That’s all well and good, but the same group that owns Justify — WinStar, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners — also owns Audible, and it doesn't take a math major to put two and two together on this particular score.
For them, it’s an easy call. There’s no need to make the race tougher on your colt vying to become the 13th Triple Crown winner in racing history.
There’s plenty at stake for Justify and his ownership team. On Thursday, multiple outlets reported that Coolmore had bought Justify’s breeding rights for $60 million, with a $25 million bonus for winning the Triple Crown, but his connections said the report is premature.
Still, Pletcher, one of the nation’s top trainers and a three-time winner of the Belmont, will be represented in the race. He expects to run Kentucky Derby starters Vino Rosso (ninth in the Derby) and Noble Indy, also owned by WinStar Farm.
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