Pletcher outlines Saratoga plans
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 July 28 in the $150,000 Lake George S. (G3), an 8 1/2-furlong turf test for three-year-old fillies, with CAMINADORA (More Than Ready), who upset the Regret S. (G3) at Churchill Downs at 32-1 last out. That was the first win for the miss this year, as she ran third against allowance rivals in her two races prior to the Regret and opened her sophomore campaign with a fourth against the same types.
"The allowance race (at Churchill Downs on May 13) came back a better race than it initially looked," Pletcher said 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 July 31, the $500,000 Diana S. (G1) for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the turf and the $500,000 Jim Dandy S. (G2), Saratoga's traditional prep for the $1 million Travers S. (G1) sending three-year-olds 10 furlongs.
His Diana hopeful, PHOLA (Johannesburg), won the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) in May before finishing second in the Just a Game S. (G1) in June.
"I thought she ran a big race," Pletcher said of Phola's Just a Game performance. "She was probably affected more than anyone by the slow fractions. I think Proviso (GB) (Dansili [GB]) is clearly the filly to beat, but we hope with a little more pace that we might be able to turn the tables."
AIKENITE (Yes It's True), who took his maiden debut last year at Saratoga before finishing third in the Hopeful S. (G1), will enter the nine-furlong Jim Dandy off a two-length allowance victory at Belmont on June 19. The bay has also placed in the Derby Trial S. (G3) and Fountain of Youth S. (G2) this season.
"How he does in the Jim Dandy could clarify where we might go next, either the Travers or the (August 28) King's Bishop (G1)," Pletcher explained. "He seems to like the surface here, and he trained here a lot as a two-year-old."
The following day Pletcher will saddle MALIBU PRAYER (Malibu Moon), winner of last year's Chilukki S. (G2) at Churchill and the Lighthouse S. at Monmouth most recently, in the $250,000 Ruffian H. (G1) sending fillies and mares 1 1/8 miles.
"Last year as a three-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," the conditioner said.
The featured event on August 2 will be the $150,000 Amsterdam S. (G2) for three-year-olds sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs, and Pletcher has a formidable contender in DISCREETLY MINE (Mineshaft), who won the Risen Star S. (G2) in March. Thirteenth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Discreetly Mine returned with a pair of strong efforts in sprints, finishing second in the Woody Stephens S. (G2) at Belmont and winning the Jersey Shore S. (G3) 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," Pletcher said of the half-brother to 2006 Cigar Mile H. (G1) winner Discreet Cat (Forestry).
Should Discreetly Mine run well in the Amsterdam, he'll likely return in the $250,000 King's Bishop going seven furlongs.
"That'd be the logical progression," Pletcher admitted. "The King's Bishop would be a big mark on his resume."
Kentucky Derby winner SUPER SAVER (Maria's Mon), headed to the August 1 Haskell Invitational (G1), and leading older male QUALITY ROAD (Elusive Quality), gearing up for the $750,000 Whitney H. (G1) on August 7 at Saratoga, are scheduled to breeze on the main track Sunday morning, Pletcher added.
On the New York worktab
Acorn S. (G1) queen CHAMPAGNE D'ORO (Medaglia d'Oro), runner-up in the Prioress S. (G1) last out, logged five-eighths in 1:04 over Saratoga's sloppy main dirt on Saturday. She's headed to the Test S. (G1) on August 7.
Kentucky Oaks (G1) third TIDAL POOL (Yankee Gentleman), placed in the Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) two back, breezed four furlongs in :50 1/5 on the muddy Oklahoma training track. She's possible for the Test.
Multiple Grade 2 victor D' FUNNYBONE (D'wildcat), second as the 1-9 favorite in the Carry Back S. (G2) most recently, traveled a half-mile in :50 3/5 on Aqueduct's good dirt in advance of the August 28 King's Bishop (G1).
Grade 3-placed stakes winner AFFIRMATIF (Unbridled's Song), runner-up against allowance/optional claiming rivals most recently, covered a half in :50 3/5 on the fast dirt training track at Belmont Park.
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