Todd Pletcher

Small Field for Belmont Stakes Prep

With 7-5 morning-line favorite Risk Taking (Medaglia d'Oro) expected to scratch in favor of the GI Preakness S. per a report in Daily Racing Form, only five will remain for Saturday's GIII Peter Pan S., the local prep for the GI Belmont S. Nova Rags (Union Rags), winner of Tampa's seven-furlong Pasco S. Jan. 16, followed a good runner-up finish in the GIII Sam F. Davis S. Feb. 6 with a fourth-place finish in the GI Curlin Florida Derby Mar. 27. The chestnut's resume also includes a debut win sprinting...

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Belmont Stakes Under Consideration for Malathaat

Malathaat (Curlin), the undefeated filly who is coming off a win in the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, could go next in the June 5 GI Belmont S. "It has crossed our minds," Shadwell Farms Vice President and General Manager Rick Nichols said of the Belmont. "One issue would be whether or not we could get John Velazquez. If Medina Spirit (Protonico) wins the [GI] Preakness Stakes., obviously John will have to choose him for the Belmont. No one would blame him for choosing that horse." Nichols said a final decision...

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Buff Bradley, Local Hall of Famer

On the same day it was announced trainer Todd Pletcher had so deservedly been chosen as a member of racing's Hall of Fame, another conditioner confirmed to Daily Racing Form's Marty McGee that he was retiring at the conclusion of the Churchill Downs meeting next month. This was the first year Pletcher was eligible and the announcement certainly came as a surprise to no one. Pletcher is one of the most successful trainers of all time, having won more than 5,000 races and holding the earnings record (increasing every day)...

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American Pharoah, Pletcher, Fisher To Be Enshrined in HOF

American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile), who became racing's first Triple Crown winner in 37 years in 2015, and trainers Todd Pletcher and Jack Fisher are the 2021 inductees into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. American Pharoah and Pletcher were elected in the contemporary category and each in their first year of eligibility. Fisher was chosen by the Museum's Steeplechase Review Committee, which convenes once every four years. Bred and raced by Zayat Stables, American Pharoah was a $300,000 buyback at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale and broke...

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A Heater In the Turf Classic

Six months ago, Klaravich Stables' Domestic Spending (GB) (Kingman {GB}) was the leader of a very strong group of turf sophomores, having won the valuable Saratoga Derby over the summer before a year-ending defeat of Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute) in the GI Hollywood Derby. But while that one was given his winter's rest, Robert and Lawana Low's Colonel Liam (Liam's Map), a progressive sort who finished within three-quarters of a length of Domestic Spending at the Spa last summer, had assumed 'King of the Hill' status, courtesy of a...

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All Good for Oaks Runners Saturday

The runners from Friday's GI Kentucky Oaks appeared to exit the event in good order, with winner Malathaat (Curlin) "Excellent" Saturday morning according to trainer Todd Pletcher. Pletcher later added of Shadwell's five-for-five 'TDN Rising Star': "You'd like to think with a filly like her you can be thinking Breeders' Cup. But we've got a long way to go before we get there." Narrow runner-up Search Results (Flater) was also no worse for wear the morning after. "We checked her out this morning and she looks fine," conditioner Chad Brown...

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Curlin's Undefeated Malathaat Scores Gutsy Victory in KY Oaks

LOUISVILLE, KY - His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum is smiling somewhere tonight. Shadwell Stable's 'TDN Rising Star' Malathaat (Curlin) outslugged Search Results (Flatter) by a neck in a battle of unbeatens in a GI Kentucky Oaks for the ages Friday at Churchill Downs. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Will's Secret (Will Take Charge) in third. Sheikh Hamdan, who campaigned countless champions and Classic winners across the globe, passed away at 75 in late March. "A million things have been going through my mind," Shadwell...

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Oaks Day Back Where It Belongs

LOUISVILLE, KY - Now, this is much more like it. With a forecast calling for sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s, the GI Kentucky Oaks returns to its traditional spot on the calendar Friday. While last year's delayed GI Kentucky Derby and Oaks were both conducted spectator-free over Labor Day weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, limited crowds of between 40,000-50,000--health and safety protocols in place and all-are expected to be on hand at Churchill Downs this weekend. Following the withdrawal of Ava's Grace (Laoban) earlier this week,...

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Wednesday's Trackside Derby Report

LOUISVILLE, KY - With the Churchill Downs backstretch and apron buzzing with socially distanced and mask-wearing fans, you could feel the excitement building during training hours on a steamy Wednesday morning. Cloudy skies and humid conditions greeted the GI Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders during the special, 15-minute training period beginning at 7:30 a.m. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert held court by the main gap and posed for a quick photo-op holding the lead shank of his overachieving $35,000 OBS July 2-year-old Medina Spirit (Protonico) as the main track was...

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Unbeaten Champion Essential Quality Favored for Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, KY - Unbeaten champion Essential Quality (Tapit) was assigned post 14 in a full field of 20 assembled for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby at Tuesday's post position draw held at Churchill Downs. The Godolphin homebred and 'TDN Rising Star,' tabbed as the 2-1 favorite on Mike Battaglia's morning line, made it a perfect five-for-five for trainer Brad Cox with a hard-fought, neck decision over Highly Motivated (Into Mischief) in the GII Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Apr. 3. Luis Saez, disqualified from first aboard Maximum Security in 2019, has...

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'Rising Star' Malathaat Favored For Oaks 147

'TDN Rising Star' Malathaat (Curlin), undefeated in four career starts and winner of her seasonal debut in the GI Central Bank Ashland S. at Keeneland Apr. 3, was made the 5-2 favorite from gate 10 on Mike Battaglia's morning line for Friday's 147th running of the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. One of three in the race for her outstanding sire, Malathaat--a daughter of 2013 Oaks fourth Dreaming of Julia (A.P. Indy)--defeated Millefeuille (Curlin, gate 14) in the GII Demoiselle S. last December and was very game in...

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Caddo River Out of Derby

Shortleaf Stable's 'TDN Rising Star' Caddo River (Hard Spun) will not make the line-up for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby after spiking a fever over the weekend. "We noticed he was off his feed and took his temperature yesterday afternoon. It was slightly elevated," trainer Brad Cox said. "It's just really bad timing being this close to the Derby. We drew blood on him [Sunday] morning and his white cell counts were a little high. We just can't run him on Saturday with being a little off his game." The defection...

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