Kentucky Derby Radar: Pletcher unveils Gouverneur Morris

September 02, 2019 03:46pm
Kentucky Derby Radar: Pletcher unveils Gouverneur Morris
Photo: Courtesy of NYRA

“This is the 2-year-old that Todd Pletcher wanted to leave Saratoga with,” NYRA handicapper Andy Serling said in the seconds following Gouverneur Morris’ flashy debut victory Monday.


The future Hall of Fame trainer certainly had to wait for it, going down to the final open maiden race on the Spa's main track to unveil a prospect that warrants immediate attention on the 2020 Kentucky Derby Radar.


A son of Constitution, another Pletcher trainee, Team Valor International and WinStar Farm’s Gouverneur Morris rated patiently off a pair of pace setters, ran wide through the turn and circled the leaders, going on to an easy victory at 5 1/2 furlongs.


“He really leveled off well great down the lane — lengthened out, handled the slop very professionally. I liked the way he galloped out,” Pletcher said on Saratoga Live.


“He’d been training really, really super in the mornings. We expected a good debut. I was kind of worried this morning with the rain and catching an off track, but he handled it fine.”


Jockey John Velazquez rode the $600,000 2-year-old purchase to a final time of 1:04.29 — again, over a sloppy track — with the runner-up nine lengths back.


This was certainly a well-backed firster, too, going off at 3-5.


Gouverneur Morris’ performance was a bit of a throwback for the Pletcher barn. He saddled two runners in the 2019 Kentucky Derby — Cutting Humor (10th) and Spinoff (18th) — but neither of those emerged as serious prospects for the Triple Crown series until their final round of preps.


Pletcher runners weren’t breaking particularly well last year at Saratoga, and the results at shorter distances evidenced it. Funny enough, a sire that didn’t run as a juvenile threw the type of runner that gives Pletcher plenty to look forward to with races like Belmont Park’s Oct. 5 Champagne Stakes (G1) on the calendar.


“He’s off to a phenomenal start,” Pletcher said of Constitution, who stands at WinStar. “He’s represented in the Hopeful later (with Sanford Stakes winner By Your Side), and he’s doing great on both coasts. It’s fantastic to see them come out running this well.


“He actually didn’t go in until 3 and was able to win his first three starts and win the Florida Derby, but his babies are super precocious.”

 

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About the Derby Radar

Back for the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail, Horse Racing Nation's Derby Radar seeks to identify promising maiden, allowance and even stakes winners who could target points-paying preps down the line. We'll cover the buzz horses, of course, then using a systematic approach based on past years' Derby contenders identify other talented colts moving up the ladder.

Did we miss one? Email editor Jonathan Lintner (jlintner@horseracingnation.com) if you know of a horse that should be on the radar.


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