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Pletcher Scores Big with Three-Year Olds

Algorithms Holy Bull
The rain that was forecast for yesterday at Gulfstream Park finally made its appearance. Halfway through today’s card, the skies opened up, and it did not take long for all the turf races to come off the grass and for the main track to be downgraded to sloppy. Shortly thereafter, the scratches began to roll in, but the G2 Forward Gal and the G3 Holy Bull remained unaffected. Race seven, an allowance optional claiming event, was also of significance due to the number of Kentucky Derby hopefuls entered. All would be won by the same trainer.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had an absolutely phenomenal day with his three-year old trainees. He started things off with El Padrino, who won an allowance optional claiming race that, on paper, should have been a stakes event. It was race seven on the card, and this group of three-year olds was fortunate in that at post time, the track was still in good condition.  Under Javier Castellano, El Padrino rated well in fourth. Take Charge Indy moved up from second to take charge of the race at the three-quarter pole, and from there, it was a two horse race. Take Charge Indy looked well on his way to victory and only reluctantly yielded late. El Padrino got up in the late stages to win by two lengths, and Take Charge Indy was nearly fourteen lengths clear of third place finisher Argentine Tango. The chestnut Pulpit colt returned $7.20 for the win as the second choice and completed the mile and a sixteenth race in 1:42.68. I have to say that this race was visually impressive for the top two finishers. Any Pletcher three-year old is always one to watch come time to prep for the Kentucky Derby, and I, for one, will be paying stricter attention to El Padrino, who is currently ranked #22 on Horse Racing Nation's Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders.
Two races later, and Pletcher was back in the winner’s circle, this time with Broadway’s Alibi. The Forward Gal drew a small but deep field of six, and Broadway’s Alibi was installed as the morning line favorite and went to post as the bettors’ choice, too. Under jockey John Velazquez, the Vindication filly went straight to the lead with Say A Novena right alongside her. As the field headed into the turn, jockey Elvis Trujillo, aboard Say A Novena, went to the whip, but Velazquez never even had to urge his mount. Broadway’s Alibi drew off under her own courage and won by daylight. The filly set absolutely blistering fractions despite the sloppy going, zipping through the opening quarter in 22.35 and the half in 44.94. If all this sounds familiar, it is because it is. Just yesterday, Pletcher and Velazquez teamed up with Soaring Stocks to take the Sunshine Millions Sprint in an impressive fashion. Broadway’s Alibi stopped the clock at 1.21.94 for the seven furlong race and returned $4.40 for the win as the favorite.
About half an hour later, allowance winner Algorithms stunned Juvenile Champion Hansen in the Holy Bull Stakes while keeping his own perfect record intact. Hansen broke poorly and stumbled at the start. He quickly recovered, though, and moved up to take the lead under jockey Ramon Dominquez. Like Broadway’s Alibi, the sloppy going did not seem to bother him, at least at first, and he cruised through the opening quarter in 23.64 and the half in 45.67, running the second quarter faster than the first. Turning for home, Algorithms began to gain on the leader, but it looked as though Hansen would pull out another gritty win. Alas, a perfect four for four was not meant to be, and Algorithms, with Castellano aboard, flew past the favorite to win by 5 lengths, giving Pletcher his third win of the day. The son of Bernardini returned $7.00/$2.80/$2.40 and stopped the clock in 1:36.17 for the one mile race.
Fortunately for Hansen, this was not a must win race. Thanks to his score in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the nearly white son of Tapit did not need the money he would have earned for a victory today. Personally, I viewed this race as a bit of a learning curve for the colt, especially when the track was down-graded to sloppy. Though the muddy going had favored speed, it appeared that Hansen may have burned himself out when he sprinted forward to take the lead following his poor break. As per usual, he then continued forward in lightning quick fashion. Whether it was the track or the break that finally took its toll on him is largely irrelevant. I think we, and maybe trainer Michael Maker, learned that Hansen needs to learn to rate a little better. In order to even have a shot at winning the mile and a quarter Kentucky Derby, the colt will need to learn to relax on the lead. As with any three-year old at this point in the year, Hansen still has some maturing to do. There are still fourteen weeks until the Derby, so all hope for Hansen is definitely not lost. Considering the circumstances, second place is not so bad, and I am fairly certain that the fan-favorite learned an important lesson today.


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Older Comments about Pletcher Scores Big with Three-Year Olds...

Scott, I almost wonder if the stumble at the start made Hansen panic a little bit. Up until yesterday, he had never been behind another horse, so my theory is that when he saw he was behind, he panicked, sprinted forward, and continued on in such fashion to remain in front even though he wasn't pressured early. JUST a theory, though. A lot of people are wanting to write off the colt on account of this race, but I believe it's too soon for that. And if I haven't said, let me just put it out there that I think Algorithms ran a great race. On account of the Hansen debacle, he is not getting nearly enough credit for the win.
  • Winplacsho · If he freaked out, then that is good going forward if they want to try to rate him as the distances increase. · 1554 days ago
  • Floridaf · According to Dominguez, he was definitely fresh and fighting him. The race was certainly a good learning experience if nothing else. Maker and Ramon both said they were pleased with the effort, so maybe that is the long-term plan. · 1554 days ago
I wouldn't expect Pletcher to win much more than prep races this year. He's a master at capitalizing on the competition that hasn't peaked yet.
What a day for the Toddster!
Nice win for the Pletcher trainee. Hansen looked fine to me, the track condition hendered him in my opinion. He'll be back strong in his next race.
at a mile that is
Fyi: almost every 2nd qtr at gulfstream is run faster than the first because the run-up is only 10ft
great racing...poor fans not enough seating at this palace...i still like the old gulfstream withe large grandstand
Now the big question is whether or not his horse will be ready come May.
Toddster always has his horses ready for Gulfstream ... that much is for sure.

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