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Breeders' Cup 2017

Pletcher Express Ready to Roll

Todd Pletcher has already won six Saratoga training titles, and a deep barn will help his chances of garnering his seventh crown in 2010. Saratoga will offer six graded stakes between July 28 and August 2, and Pletcher will have leading contenders in five of those races.


Pletcher will get things started on Wednesday, July 28 in the Grade 3 Lake George, a turf test for 3-year-old fillies, with Caminadora, who upset the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill Downs at 32-1.


“The allowance race [at Churchill May 13] came back a better race than it initially looked, and she ran a good number on the Ragozin Sheets,” said Pletcher of the decision to enter Caminadora in the Regret. “The Lake George was something we thought of after winning the Regret.”


Pletcher will be represented in both graded stakes on Saturday, July 31, the Grade 1 Diana for fillies and mares on the turf and the Grade 2 Jim Dandy, Saratoga’s traditional prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Travers.


His Diana hopeful, Phola, won the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile in May before finishing second in the Grade 1 Just a Game in June.


“I thought she ran a big race,” said Pletcher of Phola’s Just a Game performance. “She was probably affected more than anyone by the slow fractions. I think Proviso is clearly the filly to beat, but we hope with a little more pace that we might be able to turn the tables.”


Aikenite, who last year broke his maiden on debut at Saratoga before finishing third in the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful, will enter the Jim Dandy off a two-length allowance victory at Belmont June 19.


“How he does in the Jim Dandy could clarify where we might go next, either the Travers or the [Grade 1] King’s Bishop,” said Pletcher. “He seems to like the surface here, and he trained here a lot as a 2-year-old.”


The following day Pletcher will send out Malibu Prayer, winner of last year’s Grade 2 Chilukki at Churchill and the Lighthouse Stakes at Monmouth most recently, in the Grade 1 Ruffian Handicap for fillies and mares.


“Last year as a 3-year-old, she really found herself in one-turn miles, but I think her race at Monmouth last time out was her best effort yet,” said Pletcher.


The featured event on Monday, August 2, will be the Grade 2 Amsterdam for 3-year-old sprinters, and Pletcher has a formidable contender in Discreetly Mine, who won the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in March. Thirteenth in the Kentucky Derby, Discreetly Mine returned with a pair of strong efforts in sprints, finishing second in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont and winning the Grade 3 Jersey Shore at Monmouth.

“I was encouraged by his workouts at Palm Meadows over the winter and I really thought distance wouldn’t be an issue, but his family does seem to be more on the miler side,” said Pletcher of the half-brother to the 2006 Grade 1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap winner Discreet Cat.


Should Discreetly Mine run well in the Amsterdam, he’ll likely return in the King’s Bishop August 28.


“That’d be the logical progression,” said Pletcher. “The King’s Bishop would be a big mark on his resume.”


Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and leading older male Quality Road are scheduled to breeze on the main track Sunday morning, Pletcher added.




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