In the wake of Florida Derby weekend at Gulfstream Park,
trainer Todd Pletcher continues to coast on a clear lead in the standings as he
bids for a seventh consecutive title here and jockey Javier Castellano holds a
narrow lead in the rider standings, although a major shake-up on that leader
board is likely to occur during the final five weeks of the meet.
Pletcher’s total of 31 wins is 14 more than closest rival
Nick Zito second at 17, followed by Bill Mott third at 16, Rick Dutrow fourth
at 14, Wesley Ward fifth with 12 and Marty Wolfson sixth at 11 victories.
Castellano leads John Velazquez by two at 48-46 going into
this week’s action at Gulfstream, but both will likely make only limited appearances
here before the meet closes on Sat., Apr. 24 as they travel for major stakes
engagements this weekend and then the opening of Keeneland next week and other
engagements before returning to New
Jockey Elvis Trujillo currently ranks third in the standings
at 39 wins, followed by Paco Lopez fourth at 38 and Julien Leparoux fifth with
will be in Dubai
this weekend for his regular assignment riding Patricia Generazio’s 7-year-old
gelding Presious Passion in the $5 million Sheema Classic (G1) Saturday, but
will continue on at Gulfstream through most of the session as will
Florida Team Raids Fair Grounds Saturday
E. Paul Robsham Stable’s Discreetly Mine has been installed
as the morning line favorite for Saturday’s $750,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) at
Fair Grounds and is among five 3-year-olds based in South Florida that began
their seasons in races at Gulfstream
and have made the trip to New
Orleans for that Kentucky Derby
Jockey Javier Castellano, leading rider at Gulfstream, will
ride Discreetly Mine for trainer Todd Pletcher after they teamed up to win the
Risen Star Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds on Feb. 20 in a previous foray.
Discreetly Mine began the season finishing a troubled fourth in the Spectacular
Bid Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 9.
The other South Florida-based 3-year-olds entered in the
Louisiana Derby are Twin Creeks Racing Stable’s Mission Impazible (Pletcher-
Rajiv Maragh), WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer (Bill Mott-Kent Desormeaux), Richard
Pell’s Fly Down (Nick Zito-Jose Lezcano) and Edward P. Evans’ A Little Warm
In addition to the five 3-year-olds in the Louisiana Derby,
nine other South-Florida-trained stakes runners are entered in the major Graded
stakes this weekend at Fair Grounds, beginning with Friday’s $400,000 Fair
Grounds Oaks (G2), Pletcher sending out Starlight Partners’ Alilea with
Castellano aboard and Anthony Dutrow represented by Evans’ Mambo Fever.
team runners in the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (G2) are Overbrook Farm’s
Battle Plan (Pletcher-Castellano) and WinStar Farm’s Hold Me Back (Bill
Mott-Desormeaux), both last out starters at Gulfstream.
Six other travelers from South Florida that raced at
Gulfstream in their last starts are entered in the $300,000 Mervin Muniz Jr.
Memorial Handicap (G2) – Jerry Crawford and partners’ Yate’s Black Cat (Dale
Romans), Farnsworth Stable’s Jet Propulsion (Marty Wolfson), Martin Cherry’s
Pickapocket (Wolfson), Team Valor International’s Stone River (Wolfson), Anstu
Stable’s Blues Street (Pletcher), Castletop Stable’s Baletti (Angel Penna, Jr.)
and HBO Stable’s Feels All Right (Patrick Biancone)..