Tuesday at lunchtime, Todd Pletcher was one of the featured guests on the NTRA National Media Teleconference. The topic was the “Road to the Triple Crown” and Pletcher said that he has “six or seven serious contenders for the Triple Crown races.” He did not make a list of those horses, but Revolutionary, Shanghai Bobby, Verrazano, Violence, Palace Malice, Overanalyze, and Capo Bastone would seem to be in the top spots for Team Pletcher.
Those six or seven horses have been performing well. Revolutionary won the Withers. Shanghai Bobby, the 2012 Breeders’ Cup and two year-old champion, broke the track record while finishing second to Itsmyluckyday in the Holy Bull. Verrazano remained undefeated in his only starts with two dominant victories at Gulfstream Park in 2013. Capo Bastone won his first race back this year in a very slow time on a muddy track, yet Pletcher said that this horse is still part of his first team. After winning the Remsen in November, Overanalyze is being prepared for his first start of the year in the Gotham on March 2nd.
This weekend Team Pletcher has Violence making his sophomore season debut in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Palace Malice stepping up to stakes company in the Risen Star (G2). As part of Pletcher’s team system those two horses have been training together. He said that, “85 percent of the breezes are in tandem.” On Sunday, Violence and Palace Malice had their final workout together. Pletcher said, “Their work was very good. They started head and head at the five-eighths pole and finished head and head. They went the last half in :23 and galloped out in 1:12.” Both of them were officially timed in identical 1:00-1 for the five furlongs, and they shared the top work out of 46 runners that day at Palm Meadows.
If all goes well when Pletcher’s horses are training for a race, they breeze every seven days, usually in tandem. They are not asked to show blazing speed, but to learn lessons with their workmate. One time a horse will run on the rail and next time they will be on the outside. You can see in the chart how well Violence’s training has gone.
Even though Violence has only started three times, he is one of Pletcher’s most experienced horses. “Violence is ready to run well.” Pletcher said. “With his three wins at three different track on three very different surfaces, he is a versatile horse with a terrific mindset. He just takes everything in stride. I love everything about him, so far.”
“Palace Malice was at the head of the two year-old class this summer at Saratoga, but had some shin issues and was given 60 days off,” said Pletcher.
About his second place finish in his 2013 comeback, Pletcher explained. “He ran very well. He just ran into a mud lark in Majestic Hussar. He had a great gallop out in that seven furlong race.” Pletcher expects Palace Malice to run really well in the Risen Star because “the extra distance will suit him well.”