By Dick Downey
Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards were informed Thursday that Stanford will be scratched from the Kentucky Derby. The defection means Frammento has drawn into the field.
Stanford, second in the Louisiana Derby, was entered in the Derby after co-owner Barbara Banke said he was not 100 percent to run. He's trained by Todd Pletcher. The other owners are Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.
Frammento was one of two also-eligibles entered in the Kentucky Derby, and he was next in line to make the field in the event of a scratch before the deadline at 9:00 a.m. ET on Friday. Trained by Nick Zito, Frammento most recently finished fourth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.
Stanford drew post 11 Wednesday afternoon. His defection means all horses outside him will be moved in one position. Frammento will exit the far outside post 20, assuming he runs and there are no other defections.
“We entered the horse in the race to see what sort of post he might draw,” Pletcher said. “We were on the fence as to whether or not to run him, but we thought we’d take a look. But after seeing the draw and talking to the owners, we decided it might be best to take him out and consider other options.
“We’re thinking now that either the Peter Pan or the Preakness might be better spots for him. The horse is fine. We’ll train him tomorrow morning and we’ll probably work him the morning of the Derby before we ship him to New York," the trainer said. “We didn’t wait to scratch him. We did it now to ensure that the also-eligibles would have their chance to run. We think him coming out now is for the best of all.”
Assuming Frammento starts, he'll be the first also-eligible to run in the Derby since Churchill Downs amended its policy to allow AE's in 2012.
Zito was understandably happy after waiting for weeks to see if his colt would make the field.
“I got the call from the racing office this afternoon,” Zito said. “We are all excited. We made it. Everybody is happy. He has been training great. I know we will have to break from the 20, but that is a lot better than post zero!”