ELMONT, N.Y. - More Than Ready will not run in Monday's $750,000, Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park.
Instead, trainer Todd Pletcher plans to freshen the Southern Halo colt and start a summer/fall campaign on July 9 in the Dwyer at Belmont. That will serve as a prep for his mid-summer goal of the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Aug. 6 at Monmouth Park.
"To me, running in the Met Mile is only the right decision if you win the Met Mile," Pletcher said late Friday afternoon. "If you lose the Met Mile we leave the horse in a spot I don't want to be in - too far away from the Haskell and close enough to the Dwyer where you never get a break during the year.
"The horse has run four times already this year, and in the Blue Grass and the [Kentucky] Derby he laid it all on the line. I don't know that the 23 days is enough time to have him at 110 percent. For a 3-year-old to beat older horses in a quality field like this he's got to be 110 percent. He's doing good, he's showing me some of the right signs, but I think we would be happier come October and November if we didn't run."
Pletcher said he probably would have run had the Met been a week later.
"He'll be doing better in another week and a lot better in two more weeks," Pletcher said. "At some point you have to refuel along the way if we're going to have a year-long campaign."
Pletcher said following the Haskell he would evaluate More Than Ready and maybe take a look at the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 26.