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Pletcher has two for Gotham Stakes

Trainer Todd Pletcher will have two of his many talented sophomores on display in the 1 1/16-mile Gotham: Dogwood Stable’s Raconteur and Zayat Stables’ Dan and Sheila. Dan and Sheila, a More Than Ready colt, exits an impressive effort in the Grade 3 LeComte at the Fair Grounds on January 21, in which he was three-wide around the first turn and rallied from 12th to finish fourth to Mr. Bowling in his second start.


“I thought he ran a very respectable race at the Fair Grounds,” said Pletcher’s assistant, Michael McCarthy. “Once Johnny [Velazquez] was able to wheel him outside, he was able to start picking up horses. He finished up strong, and galloped out well. Obviously some seasoning will do him some good.”


After going 0-for-5 as a 2-year-old, Raconteur broke his maiden over the Big A’s inner track on January 2 and four weeks later followed that up with a three-quarter-length victory in a one mile, 70-yard optional claimer.


“It’s taken him a little while to come around,” said McCarthy. “Obviously he’s put together some decent races back-to-back. It might be a little bit of a tall order at the moment, but I think he deserves a shot to be in there. We know he likes the racetrack; maybe he can come and mow them down late.”


Pletcher will also be represented in the Top Flight with Love and Pride, seven lengths the best in the Affectionately last time out, and in the Tom Fool with last year’s winner, Repole Stable’s Calibrachoa.


“Pace makes a big difference for her,” said McCarthy of Love and Pride. “You can see every time she can go :48 and change, with those 12-second eighths, she’s always right there at the end.”


Calibrachoa, who won three straight stakes after being claimed by Mike Repole for $40,000, exits a 2 ¼-length victory in the Grade 3 Toboggan on February 4, bringing his inner-track record to 4-for-4.


“The horse came out of his race remarkably well; he hasn’t missed a beat,” said McCarthy. “He likes the inner track and ran a bang-up race last time. With a horse like him, you can go over there confident he will bring his ‘A’ game.”


All four are scheduled to breeze Sunday morning, said McCarthy.




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