sweeping both major preps for the Grade 1, $1 million Travers over the
weekend, trainer Todd Pletcher looks to have a pretty strong hand for
the 144th "Mid-Summer Derby" on August 24, the centerpiece of Saratoga Race Course's 150th anniversary season.
Pletcher was back in Saratoga on Monday morning after saddling Verrazano to a record-setting 9 ¾-length victory in Sunday's Grade 1, $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park. On Saturday, Palace Malice
followed up his impressive Belmont Stakes victory in June with an
emphatic triumph in the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga.
fortunate to have two such outstanding colts," Pletcher said. "You hate
to run horses against each other from the same barn, but in this case I
think it's the logical case for both horses and both owners. We'll see
how they both come back and both train, but right now it certainly looks
like they're likely to show up in the Travers."
won the Travers with Flower Alley in 2005 and Stay Thirsty in 2011.
Verrazano returned to Pletcher's Saratoga barn Monday morning.
shipped back great and looks really good this morning," Pletcher said.
"It was a powerful performance. The Pegasus, with the misfortune of
Itsmyluckyday getting hurt, kind of left everyone not knowing how well
he ran. I think he put any questions about that to rest yesterday."
Pletcher won four stakes over the weekend, including the Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam with Forty Tales and the $100,000 Sir Cat with Winning Cause,
both Sunday at Saratoga. Forty Tales is likely to come back in the
Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwood King's Bishop on the Travers undercard.
was a great weekend. We're blessed to have some pretty talented
horses," Pletcher said. "[Forty Tales] has really found his niche. He's a
tough little horse that keeps delivering one good performance after
Cause ran very well," he added. "We started him on the turf here last
year because we thought he showed improvement when we breezed him over
the turf. His first two starts, maybe he just needed a little time to
get it together. That was a good effort for him yesterday."
One of the many horses Pletcher breezed on Monday was multiple Grade 1 winner Shanghai Bobby, the Two-Year-Old Male Champion of 2012 who was timed in 38.95 seconds for three furlongs by NYRA clockers on the main track.
by Starlight Partners, Shanghai Bobby has been out of action since
being diagnosed with a slight pelvic stress fracture following his
fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30. He returned
to light training after a June 4 ultrasound exam of the area came back
was his first work back, and it went very well," Pletcher said. "It was
just an easy three-eighths. It was nice to get him back on the work
tab. He went just nice and easy by himself, just getting him back into a
routine. He did exactly what we were hoping he would do, and seemed to
handle it well."
Bobby won all five of his starts in 2012, including the Hopeful at
Saratoga, the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park and the Grade 1
Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. He is 0-for-2 this year, also
finishing second in the Grade 2 Holy Bull.
we'll kind of start to pick it up gradually as we go along," Pletcher
said. "Basically, he'll be on a weekly work schedule from here, but I
don't see him making a race here at Saratoga."