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Pletcher Pleased With Palace Malice, Verrazano

Hurry up and wait. With two days left until the 144th renewal of the Travers Stakes, that's all trainer Todd Pletcher can do when it comes to Verrazano and Palace Malice, the top two program favorites for Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million "Mid-Summer Derby."

 

Pletcher said Thursday that Verrazano, 2-1 on the morning line, and Palace Malice, at 5-2, each continue to head into the 1 ¼-mile 'Mid-Summer Derby' in top order.

 

"Both of them had very good mornings today," Pletcher said. "Galloped without incident. We're pleased with both of them.

 

"I think whenever you train horses," he added, "you have a tendency to worry about everything, but when you have horses that are doing as well as these two horses, you just hope for no bad luck and try to do all the things you do every day ... try to keep them relaxed and settled and safe, and that's really it. We're just really, really happy with both of them, so you're left just kind of waiting."

 

Verrazano has won six of seven starts including his past two - the Grade 3 Pegasus and Grade 1 Haskell Invitational - by 19 combined lengths. Palace Malice has strung together professional wins in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes and Grade 2 Jim Dandy.

 

Following Wednesday's post-position draw for the Travers, Pletcher schooled both colts in the paddock, where the draw was held.

 

"We waited a little bit because we didn't want to be up there during the draw itself but when we got there, there was still some residual people left over from the draw," Pletcher said. "We like to do it because it doesn't disrupt their routine much. They get their breakfast at 10:30 and then go over at 11:30.

 

"Both of those horses schooled three days before they ran the last time. Neither one of them are the type of horses that need a lot of paddock schooling but, once again, it's just covering your bases. They both stood at the gate last week and that went smoothly. We like to do that leading up to big races just as an insurance policy, basically."

 

 

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