Fort Larned Will Miss Woodward Stakes


Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned will be scratched out of the $750,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 31 because he is not 100%, trainer Ian Wilkes said the morning of Aug. 29 .

"He strained something in behind," Wilkes said, adding that Janis Whitham's 5-year-old homebred son of E Dubai   had been looked at by veterinarians. "It doesn't look too serious, but he has to be 100% to run in these races. In watching him this morning I didn't think he was 100%. He went out and jogged and took a long time to warm up and that is not normal for him."

Wilkes said despite missing the Woodward, the goal would still be for Fort Larned to defend his Breeders' Cup title at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2.

"The goal will still be to get to the Breeders' Cup," the trainer said. "The first thing I have do is make sure the horse is right and go from there."

Fort Larned most recently finished fifth in the Whitney Invitational Handicap (gr. I), which he won last year before finishing third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) en route to his Breeders' Cup success. The Gold Cup will be run Sept. 28 at Belmont Park.

With the defection of Fort Larned, who had been expected to be on or close to the pace, Paynter is now the 2-1 favorite for the 1 1/8-mile race. Successful Dan is 5-2, followed by Flat Out (3-1), Mucho Macho Man (9-2), Ron the Greek (8-1) and Alpha (12-1).