Many Options for Versatile Dominus

Following an eventful Saturday afternoon, all was quiet late Sunday morning at trainer Todd Pletcher’s corner of the Saratoga backstretch.


On Saturday, the 45-year-old Pletcher won his 22nd juvenile race of the meet when first-time starter Micromanage took the fifth; he captured the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap with Dominus, making his turf debut; and clinched his third straight Saratoga training title, and ninth overall.


Pletcher also finished fifth in the Bernard Baruch with Queen’splatekitten; fifth and sixth in the Grade 1 Woodward with Stay Thirsty and Rule, respectively, and was fourth in the Grade 1 Forego with Caixa Eletronica.


Entering the final two days of the 40-day meet, Pletcher led all trainers with 35 victories, just three away from matching the record he set last summer, and eight in front of runner-up Chad Brown. Pletcher also is the runaway leader with purse earnings of $3,214,869 at the meet.


“We always say our success here depends greatly on how well our 2-year-olds do, and this year was a perfect example of that,” Pletcher said. “We started off the meet horribly, going 1-for-22. We finished up well and hope to cap it off with some more good races in the next couple days.”


Pletcher will saddle Corail in today’s Grade 1 Spinaway for 2-year-old fillies. On Monday, he has entered Bubbly Jane in the Grade 3, $150,000 Glens Falls , and the trio of Lawn Man, Overanalyze and Shanghai Bobby in the Grade 2, $300,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful for juvenile males.


“You can always expect that when you come up here, it’s going to be very competitive and hard to win races,” Pletcher said. “We have an appreciation of how hard it is to win here, and anytime you do, you’re grateful and look forward to trying again next year.”


Pletcher reported that all his stakes runners emerged from their races in good order. Making just his second start since last August, Dominus, now 2-for-2 for Pletcher, won the Grade 2 Dwyer in 2011 for previous trainer Steve Asmussen.


“We haven’t really discussed any future plans. I would say he’s got a lot of options in front of him now,” Pletcher said. “I guess anytime you’re successful on the turf in a race like that, and it seemed like he won authoritatively, you’d kind of be thinking about turf. At the same time, he’s an accomplished horse on the dirt. We’ll just kind of wait and see how he comes out of it and how some of these races shape up and talk to the connections about not so much what the next race plan is, but what the overall game plan is.”


Owned by Mike Repole, Stay Thirsty had won three of four career starts at Saratoga, with one second, prior to the Woodward, in which jockey Javier Castellano lost his whip at the eighth pole and wound up beaten just 4 ¼ lengths for it all.


“I was a little disappointed,” Pletcher said. “It seemed like he broke just a little sluggishly and put himself into a good spot tracking To Honor and Serve and Mucho Macho Man and just needed rousing. Watching the replay a couple times, and considering the tight quarters he was in, it might have been helpful if Javier had his stick and could have encouraged him through there.


“It didn’t cost him the win, but it might have cost him third or fourth. I have to talk to Mike and see what’s up next for him. When you break it down, it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t quite what we expected based on how well he trained.”




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