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Post Time: Pletcher scratches Stanford from Derby, Frammento draws in

Trainer Todd Pletcher announced this afternoon that Stanford would scratch from the Kentucky Derby. He was made a 30-1 shot by Mike Battaglia on the morning line in yesterday's draw.  The scratch means that Frammento, the first of two horses on the also eligible list, will draw into the race for trainer Nick Zito.

Stanford, a son of Malibu Moon. qualified for the Derby based on a second-place finish in the Louisiana Derby behind International Star. He was in the No. 11 hole, not a bad draw, so the scratch was somewhat surprising among the press corps.

The News caught up with trainer Todd Pletcher in the paddock this afternoon who explained the scratch of Stanford and confirmed is was not due to injury. “We would like to go on to the Peter Pan or the Preakness. We felt like we were on the fence all along whether we were going to run or not and decided to enter and take a look at the post position draw. We wanted to see if any of the main contenders got a horrible draw,” said Pletcher.

The Preakness will be run two weeks at Pimlico on May 16, and the Peter Pan, a traditional prep race for the Belmont Stakes is scheduled for next weekend on May 9 at Belmont Park. Pletcher noted he would breeze Stanford on Saturday, the morning of the Derby.

“We feel at this stage of his development he’s better suited for the Peter Pan or Preakness. We were never fully committed to running, we just thought we’d take a look, it’s not a big story,” said Pletcher. The mount on Stanford would have been Florent Geroux's first Derby ride.

After taking a night to digest the tough post positions that his two top horses, Carpe Diem (No. 2) and Materiality (No. 3) drew last night, Pletcher was more upbeat than his disposition showed on Wednesday. “I like it even more. Angel Cordero told me this morning he won two Derbies from post two. That’s a lot of positive energy,” said Pletcher.

As for Frammento, he will wear No. 21, the colors are lavender with navy numerals. He'll move into gate 20 and every horse from gates 12 to 20 will move down one gate, but will retain their saddle cloth number.

Frammento finished fourth in the Blue Grass and third in the Fountain of Youth following a dismal sixth-place finish in the Holy Bull, garnering 20 Derby qualifying points. The son of former Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Midshipman has one win in seven starts.

Zito’s last horse that competed in the Kentucky Derby was Dialed In, the post time favorite in the 2011 Derby who finished eighth.

An updated draw sheet is included below:

Saddle Number Horse Morning Line Trainer Jockey
1 Ocho Ocho Ocho 50-1 Cassidy Trujillo
2 Carpe Diem 8-1 Pletcher JR Velazquez
3 Materiality 12-1 Pletcher Castellano
4 Tencendur 30-1 Weaver Franco
5 Danzig Moon 30-1 Casse Leparoux
6 Mubtaahij 20-1 de Kock Soumillon
7 El Kabeir 30-1 Terranova II Borel
8 Dortmund 3-1 Baffert Garcia
9 Bolo 30-1 Gaines Bejarano
10 Firing Line 12-1 Callaghan Stevens
11 Stanford SCR Pletcher Geroux
12 International Star 30-1 Maker Mena
13 Itsaknockout 30-1 Pletcher L Saez
14 Keen Ice 50-1 Romans Desormeaux
15 Frosted 15-1 McLaughlin Rosario
16 War Story 50-1 Amoss Talamo
17 Mr. Z 50-1 Lukas Vazquez
18 American Pharoah 5-2 Baffert V Espinoza
19 Upstart 15-1 Violette Jr. Ortiz J
20 Far Right 30-1 Moquett ME Smith
21 Frammento 50-1 Zito Nakatani
22 AE Tale of Verve 50-1 Stewart Hernandez

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

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