A rematch fails to materialize between the winners of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The competitor in Carl Nafzger wanted to enter Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense in the Belmont Stakes for a rematch with Preakness victor Curlin.
The trainer in him argued otherwise.
After Nafzger and owner James Tafel debated for two hours the viability of sending the colt to New York for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the trainer side won.
Street Sense will skip the Belmont so Nafzger can point him toward the Travers Stakes and the Breeders' Cup Classic later this year.
"The competitive side said 'Go,"' Nafzger said. "The logical side said 'No, no, no."'
Street Sense was healthy enough to tackle the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, Nafzger said. But when the dreams of a Triple Crown evaporated in the final yards of the Preakness two weeks ago, Tafel decided to try another route at history.
"Mr. Tafel said, 'Let's not chase spilled water,"' Nafzger said. "We spilled our water during the Preakness. We got beat."
Street Sense and jockey Calvin Borel appeared headed to a chance at the first Triple Crown since 1978 when they took the lead deep in the stretch at the Preakness. Curlin and jockey Robby Albarado, however, mounted a late charge to slip by at the wire.
Plenty of opportunities remain for Street Sense to make his mark, Tafel said.
The colt could become the first horse to win the Derby, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the Travers and the Breeders' Cup Classic.
The Travers is Aug. 25 at Saratoga. The Breeders' Cup Classic is Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park.
Nafzger said there was concern Street Sense wouldn't have time to properly prepare for the Travers if he ran the Belmont. The horse will be able to rest and compete in one or two races between now and the Travers, including possibly the Jim Dandy.
"I know there's disappointment we're not going to the Belmont," Nafzger said. "But somewhere we want to make another stand."
Steve Asmussen, Curlin's trainer, said he was readying for another duel with Street Sense, but the small field remains challenging.
"I was fully prepared to run against him, as well as Hard Spun," Asmussen said.
"With him being as good a horse as he is, I think I'd rather meet him at Belmont than anywhere else," Asmussen added. "If Carl thought he belonged there, he would have shown up."