Pletcher's eye on Travers Stakes for Spinoff after defections

Pletcher's eye on Travers Stakes for Spinoff after defections
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Wertheimer and Frere's 3-year-old Spinoff, who rebounded to win an allowance race on August 9 when facing elders, is now possible to run back in the Aug. 24 Travers Stakes (G1), trainer Todd Pletcher said Thursday in the wake of news that both Game Winner and Maximum Security will miss the 10-furlong Mid-Summer Derby.

Pletcher, however, said the Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on September 21 at Parx Racing is a more likely target.

"It was a good effort," the trainer said after Spinoff added blinkers and returned to dirt off an 11th-place finish in the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) on turf.

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The son of Hard Spun finished five lengths in front of 4-year-old stakes winner Lone Sailor while finishing up 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.17.

"Having blinkers on seemed to have him a little bit more locked in," Pletcher added. "I nominated him to the Travers. It's back quick. My first thought is the Pennsylvania Derby from a timing aspect, but with the couple of major defections we had yesterday, it's something we'll keep an eye on."

Earlier this season, Spinoff made his 3-year-old debut a flashy one, beating winners at Tampa Bay Downs by 11 3/4 lengths. He was second in the Louisiana Derby (G2); didn't like the wet going when 18th in the Kentucky Derby; then ran sixth in the Belmont Stakes.

First, Pletcher changed surfaces in the Belmont Derby. The equipment change benefited Spinoff more in his last start with a return to Grade 1 company next.

MORE: 'Temptation,' but no Travers for Mr. Money

2019 Travers Stakes (G1)


Calumet Farm's Channel Cat, who won the Bowling Green (G1) on July 27 remains on target for the Grade 1, $850,000 Sword Dancer on Travers day. Channel Cat visited the Oklahoma training turf Friday morning breezing four furlongs in 49.49. 

Pletcher also reported Vino Rosso, Coal Front, and Wooderson each remained possible to make their next starts in the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward on August 31 at Saratoga.

Pletcher picked up his 10th win of the meet on Thursday's card with maiden-breaking juvenile Mystic Lancelot for Phoenix Thoroughbreds, putting the veteran conditioner in second place in the trainer standings.

Pletcher said he's looking forward to a possible start in the Grade 1 Summer, a one-turn mile on the turf offering Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" status, slated for September 15 at Woodbine.

"He had been training okay on the dirt previously," said Pletcher. "We breezed him on the turf and he showed some improvement, but even then I thought his race was more impressive than what we were expecting. We were happy to see it and he seemed to do everything professionally.

"A race like the Summer Stakes at Woodbine might be something we have in mind, but we'll talk with Phoenix Thoroughbreds and then decide. It would be a nice fit and a gradual stretch out."

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