LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Behindatthebar, the Lexington Stakes winner, will not run in Saturday's Kentucky Derby and instead will point for the Preakness on May 17, trainer Todd Pletcher said Monday.
Behindatthebar's defection will enable Denis of Cork to make it into the Derby field. Entries for the race will be taken and post positions assigned on Wednesday.
Pletcher said that he and owner Satish Sanan decided running Behindatthebar in the Derby "might be a little too much" as it would be his third race in five weeks. Prior to winning the Lexington on April 19, Behindatthebar won a first-level allowance race at Santa Anita on April 3.
"When you're thinking about a race the magnitude of the Kentucky Derby, you want to give it time and talk it through because it's the only opportunity they'll get," Pletcher said from New York. "We feel like this is the right thing to do for the horse and by doing this hopefully it will pay dividends at the end of the season.''
Pletcher will still have two horses in the Derby in Monba and Cowboy Cal.
Sanan called David Carroll, the trainer of Denis of Cork, to tell him the news. Dennis of Cork won his first three starts, including the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes, before finishing fifth in the Illinois Derby.
"I'm over the moon,'' Carroll said around 11 a.m. "It's gotten a little crazy around here the last few minutes. We're excited. The horse is here, we feel he belongs in the race with him doing as well as he is. We're looking forward to it. Hopefully, gets a good post. After that it's out of our hands.''
On Monday, Denis of Cork worked four furlongs in 47.76 seconds and galloped out a half-mile in 1:00.36 Calvin Borel, who won last year's Kentucky Derby aboard Street Sense, was aboard for the work and will ride Denis of Cork in the Derby.
Next on the earnings list is Halo Najib, who would still need one defection between now and Wednesday to get into the field.