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Pletcher, Castellano Lead at Gulfstream

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

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 York.

Jockey Elvis Trujillo currently ranks third in the standings at 39 wins, followed by Paco Lopez fourth at 38 and Julien Leparoux fifth with 36. Trujillo 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 Lopez.   


Strong South 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 Park and have made the trip to New Orleans for that Kentucky Derby preview.

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 (Anthony Dutrow).

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. 

South Florida 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)..


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