Race of the Week 2017

Pletcher Has Plenty of 2013 Belmont Stakes Options

Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

After bypassing the Preakness, trainer Todd Pletcher has a deep group of contenders for  Belmont Stakes 2013.


“We have a few candidates, but we haven’t firmed up the lineup just yet,” said Pletcher. “Overanalyze breezed this morning [four furlongs in 47.50 seconds over the training track] and breezed well. We are planning to run him. We breezed Palace Malice [four furlongs in 47.49, training track] and talked to [Cot] Campbell [of Dogwood Stable]. We plan to run him. Revolutionary will have two breezes starting next Sunday. We plan to run him. Mike Repole is going to be the key to how many other horses we run. He has several possibilities [in addition to Overanalyze]. Unlimited Budget breezed this morning [four furlongs in 49.07, training track], and she is possible. Micromanage is here and will breeze next Sunday, and we’ll make a decision after that.”


WinStar Farm’s Revolutionary, winner of the Grade 3 Withers in February at Aqueduct Racetrack and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in March at Fair Grounds, was Pletcher’s highest finisher in the 2013 Kentucky Derby, reporting home third, beaten 3 ½ lengths by Orb. Overanalyze, victorious in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in April at Oaklawn, was 11th in the Derby, with Grade 1 Blue Grass runner-up Palace Malice tiring to 12th after setting a fast pace.


Unlimited Budget, third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 3, would be attempting to emulate Rags to Riches, who in 2007 became the first filly since 1905 to win the Belmont. Rags to Riches is Pletcher’s only Belmont Stakes winner to date. Micromanage is exiting a neck victory in an optional claimer on May 11 at Monmouth Park.


Pletcher is a former assistant to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who on Saturday picked up his sixth Preakness victory when he sent out Oxbow to a front-running win under Gary Stevens.


“I was very happy for Wayne and Gary; it was a tremendous accomplishment for both of them,” said Pletcher. “I thought Gary rode a very, very smart race and took advantage of the pace scenario, and the horse delivered a big performance.”


Before the Belmont Stakes, Pletcher will have the chance to take down a few graded stakes on Memorial Day, May 27, at Belmont Park. The day’s featured race is the Grade 1, $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap, and Pletcher is expected to run Cross Traffic and Discreet Dancer in the one-mile event for 3-year-olds and up.


Cross Traffic will enter the Met Mile off a hard-fought second to Flat Out in the Grade 3 Westchester on April 27 at Belmont, while Discreet Dancer is exiting a third in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap on April 6 at Aqueduct.


“It’s pretty rare that you see a horse who has come that far in such a short time,” said Pletcher of GoldMark Farm’s Cross Traffic. “He was an unraced 4-year-old at the start of the year. He ran a huge race in the Westchester. He just lost to a tough, seasoned veteran who seems to love Belmont. We were very pleased with his race, and he’s doing just as well or even better than he came into [the Westchester].”


“The Carter came up a very fast race,” said Pletcher of Discreet Dancer, an E. Paul Robsham Stables homebred. “He won the mile race at Gulfstream, and we think the mile suits him well. He’s coming up to it in good order, so we’re excited about his chances as well.”


Pletcher added that he plans to run Kauai Katie in the Grade 1 Acorn on the Met Mile undercard. In the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps for fillies and mares, Pletcher will run Disposablepleasure, with Authenticity listed as possible.


“I’m keeping an eye on the Phipps with Authenticity, if it comes up a short field,” said Pletcher. “I’m just seeing how quickly she bounces back [off her win in the Grade 2 La Troienne on May 3 at Churchill Downs], but she’s doing well. I’d say she’s about 50-50 at this moment.”


Pletcher said all of his contenders for Memorial Day stakes will breeze on Tuesday, pending weather.




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