Race of the Week 2017

Pletcher Gearing up with 2017 Kentucky Derby Contingent

Pletcher has had a Kentucky Derby starter every year since 2000 except for 2003 and won the race in 2010 with Super Saver. He has five horses among the top 20 point earners on the trail to this year’s race. The 2017 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) is limited to the top 20 point earners that pass the entry box.

Two of those horses are at Keeneland: Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta’s Tapwrit, fifth in the April 8 Toyota Blue Grass (G2), and Sumaya U.S. Stables’ Malagacy, fifth in last Saturday’s Arkansas Derby (G1).

“Tapwrit is going to work here Friday or Saturday,” Pletcher said. “Malagacy arrived here Monday and looks to be in good shape from what I could see this morning. We will give him a week and then finalize our plans.”

Brooklyn Boyz Stables and Teresa Viola Racing Stables’ Always Dreaming, winner of the Florida Derby (G1), and Calumet Farm’s Patch, runner-up in the Louisiana Derby (G2), both on April 1, remain at Palm Beach Downs.

“They are going to breeze Friday there and then ship to Churchill Downs on Tuesday,” Pletcher said. “I was going to go to Churchill this week, but I looked at the long-range forecast and saw six straight days of rain.”

Still at Belmont Park is Wood Memorial (G2) runner-up Battalion Runner, owned by St. Elias Stable.

“He is going to breeze up there Friday or Saturday and then go to Churchill after that early next week when we consolidate there,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher, who has won the Kentucky Oaks (G1) three times, also trains Ghalia, winner of the Sunland Park Oaks. Owned by Sumaya U.S. Stables, Ghalia has earned enough points to give her a spot in the starting gate for this year’s Oaks.

“I am thinking the ($200,000) Eight Belles (G2 at 7 furlongs on May 5) for her,” Pletcher said. “It looks like there will be no Oaks for us, unless we pull a rabbit out of the hat.”

Harold Lerner, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables and Magdalena Stable’s It’s Your Nickel, sixth in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) on April 8, worked a half-mile in :48.80 Tuesday morning. Trainer Kenny McPeek said the Dialed In colt would make his next start in the April 22 Illinois Derby (G3) at Hawthorne.

McPeek said Fern Circle Stables’ Senior Investment, who finished a head in front to win Saturday’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3), is a candidate for the Preakness (G1) on May 20.

Source: Keeneland Association


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