Nest, with Jose Ortiz aboard, and Mo Donegal, who was piloted by Irad Ortiz, Jr., went to the fast main track under cloudy skies and temperatures in the 60s. Nest worked to the inside of Mo Donegal as both horses completed their five-furlong moves in 1:02.99, followed by an extended three-eighths gallop out.
“The main thing I tried to emphasize to Jose and Irad was that I wanted a good, steady, long gallop out breeze. I wasn't concerned about how quickly they went,” Pletcher said. “They got into a good rhythm. I had them out in 1:02 4/5, but what I particularly liked was the three-eighths after the finish line, they galloped out strongly. Both riders said that when I told them on the radio to let them go ahead and go out another eighth, both horses jumped up underneath them and showed they still had something left in the tank, so I was happy. I think both horses have good foundations. I just wanted a good, steady, stamina-building breeze and I thought we were able to accomplish that.”
Mo Donegal, owned by Donegal Racing and Repole Stable, was fifth in the GI Kentucky Derby on May 7 at Churchill Downs, where he broke awkwardly from the rail and was forced wide in the final turn. He entered the Derby following a neck win over eventual GI Preakness S. winner Early Voting (Gun Runner) in the GII Wood Memorial S. Apr. 9.
Produced by the A.P. Indy mare Marion Ravenwood, Nest, the full-sister to GI Santa Anita H. winner Idol, was a dominating winner of the GI Central Bank Ashland S. at Keeneland en route to a runner-up effort as the lukewarm favorite in the GI Kentucky Oaks.
“Pedigree wise, it's a no brainer. You've got Belmont all over her pedigree, so I think she'll run that far. That's a huge part of the consideration,” Pletcher said. “She's given us every indication since the Oaks that she's doing well.”
Last year's champion 3-year-old filly 'TDN Rising Star' Malathaat (Curlin) was also on the Belmont work tab Friday, working in company with graded stakes winner Fearless (Ghostzapper) through five-eighths in 1:00.60 over the training track. She is currently on track for the GI Ogden Phipps S. June 11. Three-time graded winner Fearless is being aimed at the GII Brooklyn Invitational June 11.
'TDN Rising Star' Life Is Good (Into Mischief), a last out fourth in the G1 Dubai World Cup in March, breezed a half-mile in :49.05 over the training track. The GI Pegasus World Cup hero resumed serious training at WinStar Farm in Kentucky earlier this month. Pletcher said Life Is Good is targeting the GII John A. Nerud July 2 at Belmont with the GI Whitney Aug. 6 as a long term goal.
“He worked this morning in :48 and change, did it very easily,” Pletcher said. “I think he's maintained his conditioning level very well, so right now we have the Nerud on July 2, which gives us five weeks back to the Whitney. That's what we're thinking right now.”
Also on the work tab for Pletcher was GIII Bay Shore S. winner 'TDN Rising Star' Wit (Practical Joke), who posted a five-eighths breeze in 1:01.05 in preparation for the GI Woody Stephens S. June 11.
We the People Breezes for Belmont Stakes…
WinStar Farm, CMNWLTH and Siena Farm's We the People (Constitution) put in his penultimate work Friday in preparation for the GI Belmont S., covering a half-mile in :48.39 over the Belmont main track.
“It was an easy half, very routine for him,” said trainer Rodolphe Brisset, who was aboard for the work. “It was exactly what we were looking for. Just a maintenance work to put us in a perfect spot for next week. We just like the way he's been acting and training here. He's not an easy horse and he looks like he's maturing at the right time. Hopefully, the next two weeks will be the same.”
The 'TDN Rising Star' posted a resounding win in the GIII Peter Pan S. May 14, the final local prep for the “Test of the Champion.” We the People led every step of the way over a good and sealed Big Sandy to win his first graded stakes by 10 1/4 lengths. He earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.
“We were happy with the number and you will always have people say it was a sealed track and an easy lead,” said Brisset. “But I just feel like that was the right effort right before the Belmont and I think it's the right move to point him to the big one now.”