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Pletcher Runners Loom Large in Matron, Futurity

By the end of the 2012 meet Saratoga Race Course, trainer Todd Pletcher had won an astounding 23 races for 2-year-olds, including victories in the Grade 2 Adirondack with Kauai Katie and Grade 2 Three Chimneys Hopeful with Shanghai Bobby.

On Sunday at Belmont Park, Pletcher will look to continue that success when he sends out a quartet of juveniles in the Grade 2, $200,000 Futurity and Grade 2, $200,00 Matron for fillies, both at six furlongs.

Heading the foursome is Kauai Katie, who is the 2-5 morning-line favorite over six other fillies in the Matron, which will be run as race 7 on Sunday’s 10-race card, with the Futurity carded as race 9.

Owned by Stonestreet Stable, the speedy daughter of Malibu Moon led nearly every step of the Adirondack and her 12-length maiden victory on opening day at Saratoga, and Pletcher feels the six furlongs of the Matron plays to her strengths.

“As Stonestreet also has Dreaming of Julia, who seems to be adept at longer distances, obviously you try to separate the two,” said Pletcher, noting that Dreaming of Julia is pointing toward next Saturday’s Grade 1, one-mile Frizette at Belmont. “This seems like a logical spot for Kauai Katie.”

Joining Kauai Katie in the starting gate from Pletcher’s barn will be Cheyenne Stables’ Unabashed, whom Pletcher feels handled herself with aplomb in her off-the-pace, 4 ½-length maiden win on August 17 at Saratoga.

“Unabashed actually surprised us a little bit,” he said of the Elusive Quality filly. “Not so much that she won, but I didn’t anticipate that she would be away a beat slow, find herself behind horses and would handle herself as professionally as she did. She took it all in stride and it was a very professional effort.”

With regular rider Rosie Napravnik in the irons, Kauai Katie drew post position 6, while Unabashed, 8-1 on the morning line, will leave from the rail under Hall of Famer John Velazquez.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will be represented by Live Oak Plantation’s Seasoned Warrior, most recently fourth in the Grade 1, seven-furlong Spinaway. The daughter of Majestic Warrior, second to fellow Matron entrant Baby J in her debut on June 28 at Belmont, was a sharp maiden winner a month later at Saratoga.

Joel Rosario will ride Seasoned Warrior, the 5-1 second choice on the morning line, from post position 5.

Rounding out the field are the aforementioned Baby J, third in the Grade 3 Schuylerville on July 20 last time out; Doubled, winner of the Sorority at Monmouth Park on September 2, and Spinaway runner-up Sweet Shirley Mae.

In the Futurity, Pletcher will saddle Overanalyze, who jumped from a five-furlong maiden score to finish fourth in the Grade 2, seven-furlong Three Chimneys Hopeful, and Drum Roll, most recently third in the Grade 3 Sapling at Monmouth Park.

Owned by Repole Stable, Overanalyze was never challenged in his front-running debut, but fell back after mounting a challenge between horses on the turn in the Hopeful.

“We were hoping to make a bit of a more gradual progression towards stakes,” said Pletcher of Overanalyze, the 3-1 second choice in the Futurity. “The allowance race didn’t fill, so we took a shot and ran back in the Hopeful. For only the second start of his career, going from a five-furlong maiden to a seven-furlong stakes, it was a big step and I thought he performed admirably. He’s a horse who will eventually stretch out in distance, but for now six furlongs is a good distance for him.”

Velazquez will be aboard Overanalyze, who drew post position 4, while Ramon Dominguez will ride Drum Roll, tabbed at 8-1 on the morning line from post position 6.

Owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, Drum Roll overcame an eventful start to break his maiden at Monmouth on July 8, and next finished fourth in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on August 12.

“I thought Drum Roll ran well in the Sapling,” said Pletcher. “He got outsprinted the first part; broke a beat slow, but he continued on and showed interest.”

The favorite’s role in the Futurity goes to the Rick Violette-trained Carried Interest, who has not run since earning a 90 Beyer Speed Figure in his maiden victory on July 5 at Belmont.  Owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, the Henny Hughes colt skipped the Saratoga juvenile stakes with sore shins, but returned to training in September at Aqueduct, most recently breezing five furlongs in 1:00.84 on Sunday.

Alan Garcia will ride Carried Interest, 5-2 on the morning line, from the rail.

The Futurity also drew the New York-bred Weekend Hideaway, winner of the restricted David overnight stakes at the Spa; Grade 2 Sanford runner-up Handsome Jack; Grade 3 Bashford Manor winner Special Jo, second in the Sapling last time out, and the maiden Gulfport.



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