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Havana Earns Spot in BC Juvenile

Led by Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne winner Havana, all five of Todd Pletcher's stakes horses came back from their efforts on Saturday at Belmont Park in good order, the trainer reported.


"Havana showed us what we were hoping to see," said Pletcher of the Dunkirk colt, who earned a fees-paid berth into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile next month at Santa Anita Park with his second victory in as many starts. "It was a challenge for sure going from a 5 ½-furlong maiden to a Grade 1 going a mile. We're very satisfied with his performance. He earned his way to the next stop."


Havana, who received a 102 Beyer Speed Figure for his front-running maiden win at Saratoga Race Course, was given a 93 Beyer for Saturday's one-mile Foxwoods Champagne, in which he sat just off brisk early fractions, took the lead on the far turn, found himself 4 ½ lengths in front at the top of the stretch and held off Honor Code to win by a neck in 1:35.81.


"It did not surprise us he adapted to that scenario [sitting just off the pace]," said Pletcher. "We'd experimented in the morning with him sitting off horses, and he seemed to be cooperative. It's always nice to see them do it in the afternoons. [When he got to the lead], I think it was a little bit of an optical illusion because [pacesetter] Debt Ceiling fell off so quickly and Havana was suddenly four lengths ahead of everyone else. You could see at the top of the stretch Honor Code was starting to put in a big run. I anticipated it would be close, especially after the fractions they had put in early on, and he certainly had the right to be getting tired at that point."


Pletcher said that Intense Holiday, fifth in the Foxwoods Champagne, Jack Milton and Notacatbutallama, third and fourth, respectively, in the Grade 1 Jamaica, and Stopchargingmaria, who finished third in the Grade 1 Frizette, also returned in fine fettle.


"Stopchargingmaria ran well," he said. "She was third best on the day with no apparent excuse. She will go on to the Tempted [Grade 3, one mile, November 3, Aqueduct Racetrack]."


Pletcher added that dual Grade 1 winner Verrazano worked well in company with Grade 1 Foxwoods King's Bishop winner Capo Bastone on Saturday, breezing five furlongs in 1:01.26 on the training track in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, and that he planned to send We Miss Artie, winner of Saturday's Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, to Santa Anita to breeze on the dirt for a possible start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.




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