Both of trainer Todd Pletcher’s sophomores emerged
from their victories Saturday at Aqueduct in good order as their
connections began outlining the next steps in their promising careers.
whose late charge carried him past Escapefromreality after an eventful
trip in the Grade 3, $200,000 Withers, will
depart for Pletcher’s Florida base at Palm Meadows training center on
Tuesday to prepare for any one of a number of final preps for the May 4
Kentucky Derby. Among the possibilities are the Grade 1, $1 million Wood
Memorial on April 6 at the Big A.
WinStar president, CEO and racing manager Elliott Walden called
the War Pass colt’s journey – in which he trailed in eighth through a
pedestrian half-mile in 48.18,
rounded the turn in traffic, came off the fence heading into the
stretch, ducked back inside with 300 yards to go, split rivals in the
lane and came charging late to win by a neck – highly educational.
“I was watching the replay of the race a little while ago, and
there was nothing good about it except for the last two or three jumps,”
agreed Pletcher’s assistant,
Michael McCarthy. “That may have been one of the worst winning trips
I’ve ever seen.”
Princess of Sylmar, has a
much easier time as she rolled by seven lengths in the $100,000 Busher,
her fourth straight win, all around two turns. Next up for the Majestic
Warrior filly will be Aqueduct’s Grade 2,
$250,000 Gazelle on April 6, said McCarthy.
“It doesn’t seem, by watching her out here this morning, that
the race took much out of her,” he said. “She’ll have a nice bit of a
break until the first Saturday in
April for the Gazelle. She’ll get back to work a few weeks before.
Hopefully we can get lucky again and work towards a spot in the [May 3]
“The way she finishes her races you’d have to think 1 1/8 miles
would be well within her scope, maybe even a little further, during the
summer,” he added. “I think we’ll
get a good gauge of where we’re at in the Gazelle with other horses
shipping in from the south.”
McCarthy added that
Johannesburg Smile, who in
his first start for Pletcher and owner Mike Repole finished second to
Head Heart Hoof in the Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan, emerged from his
effort in good order as well but said that no plans
had been made for his next start.