Tuesday at lunchtime, Todd Pletcher was one of the featured
guests on the NTRA National Media Teleconference. The topic was the “Road to the Triple Crown” and Pletcher
said that he has “six or seven serious contenders for the Triple Crown races.”
He did not make a list of those horses, but Revolutionary, Shanghai Bobby,
Verrazano, Violence, Palace Malice, Overanalyze, and Capo Bastone would seem to
be in the top spots for Team Pletcher.
Those six or seven horses have
been performing well. Revolutionary won the Withers. Shanghai Bobby, the
2012 Breeders’ Cup and two year-old champion, broke the track record while
finishing second to Itsmyluckyday in the Holy Bull. Verrazano remained undefeated in his only starts with two dominant
victories at Gulfstream Park in 2013. Capo Bastone won his first race back this year in a very slow time on a muddy
track, yet Pletcher said that this horse is still part of his first team. After
winning the Remsen in November, Overanalyze is being prepared for his first start of the year in the Gotham on March 2nd.
This weekend Team Pletcher
has Violence making his sophomore
season debut in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Palace Malice stepping up to stakes company in the Risen Star (G2).
As part of Pletcher’s team system
those two horses have been training together. He said that, “85 percent of the
breezes are in tandem.” On Sunday, Violence and Palace Malice had their final
workout together. Pletcher said, “Their work was very good. They started head
and head at the five-eighths pole and finished head and head. They went the
last half in :23 and galloped out in 1:12.” Both of them were officially timed
in identical 1:00-1 for the five furlongs, and they shared the top work out of
46 runners that day at Palm Meadows.
If all goes well when
Pletcher’s horses are training for a race, they breeze every seven days, usually
in tandem. They are not asked to show blazing speed, but to learn lessons with
their workmate. One time a horse will run on the rail and next time they will
be on the outside. You can see in the chart how well Violence’s training has
Even though Violence has
only started three times, he is one of Pletcher’s most experienced horses.
“Violence is ready to run well.” Pletcher said. “With his three wins at three
different track on three very different surfaces, he is a versatile horse with
a terrific mindset. He just takes everything in stride. I love everything about
him, so far.”
“Palace Malice was at the
head of the two year-old class this summer at Saratoga, but had some shin
issues and was given 60 days off,” said Pletcher.
About his second place
finish in his 2013 comeback, Pletcher explained. “He ran very well. He just ran into a mud lark in Majestic
Hussar. He had a great gallop out in that seven furlong race.” Pletcher expects
Palace Malice to run really well in the Risen Star because “the extra distance
will suit him well.”
There is no doubt that
Violence will be a very heavily bet favorite in the Fountain of Youth. Palace
Malice is facing a tougher field and should be a better price when he faces the
likes of Mylute, Normandy Invasion, Oxbow, and He’s Had Enough in the Risen
Star. It will be interesting to see if this tandem can keep Team Pletcher
rolling on the Road to the Triple Crown.