Pletcher not pointing 'Cause' to Derby

While trainer Todd Pletcher was pleased with the breeze turned in by Alto Racing's Winning Cause Monday, April 29 at Churchill Downs, he will not enter the Coolmore Lexington Stakes winner in the Kentucky Derby.

Pletcher said after meeting with Gil Moutray of Alto Racing, the decision was made to skip the Derby. Pletcher noted the Giant's Causeway colt would have been making his third start since April 6 if he'd gone in the Derby May 4 at Churchill.

"Actually I thought the horse worked very well. He seems to have come out of the Lexington in great shape," Pletcher said after Winning Cause breezed four furlongs in 48 1/5. "But after speaking to one of the principal owners, he's not starting in the Kentucky Derby.

"We're not sure where he's going, but everything will be under consideration, the Peter Pan Stakes, the Preakness [Stakes] or possibly the Marine Stakes at Woodbine because it's on synthetic."

With the defection, and Bob Baffert's Monday decision not to enter Govenor Charlie or Code West, Santa Anita Derby fourth-place finisher Tiz a Minister became next in line at 19th on the points list but Churchill officials said the Ministers Wild Cat colt will not make the trip from Southern California. Tiz a Minister finished third in the Snow Chief Stakes for California-breds April 27 at Betfair Hollywood Park.

No. 20 on the list is Charles Fipke's Golden Soul, who trainer Dallas Stewart has been exercising at Churchill Downs during the time allotted for Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses. Fipke also will have Toyota Blue Grass Stakes winner Java's War entered in the field.

Meanwhile, Pletcher said Derby Trial Stakes winner Forty Tales will keep to sprinting as the Tale of the Cat colt will be pointed to the Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont Park. Pletcher said he will wait to see how his five Derby horses do in the 1 1/4-mile race before making a final decision on Derby Trial runner-up Capo Bastone, who could go in the Preakness.

Pletcher noted that for all of the discussion of Churchill's new points system used to determine the Derby field, it may not come into play at all because a field smaller than 20 horses seems like a possibility.

"We spent a lot of hours talking about the points system and it might come down that it doesn't matter," Pletcher said.

Pletcher said Edgar Prado is likely to ride Charming Kitten in the Derby although a final decision has not been made.