Tag: Todd Pletcher

After a disappointing Kentucky Derby, Dynamic One returned from a nearly three-month racing layoff to win the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. The $725,000 colt may run the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga next. (Image: Coady Photography/Churchill Downs)

Dynamic One Was Finally Just That in the Curlin; Travers Likely Next

Yes, Dynamic One’s victory came in a listed stakes, the Curlin. Yes, it came in a 3-year-old race buried in the laundry that is Jim Dandy Weekend at Saratoga – especially with star sophomore Essential Quality headlining. But Friday’s Curlin, which was limited to 3-year-olds who had not won a […]

Maracuja (left) outkicked previous unbeaten Malathaat to win last Saturday's CCA Oaks. The two are on a path to tangle again in the Aug. 21 Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. (Image: Elsa Lorieul/NYRA)

After CCA Oaks Upset, We’re Ready for Maracuja vs. Malathaat 3.0

Maracuja and Malathaat put on such a show in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga, that you can’t wait to see the rematch between the two 3-year-old fillies. And, it’s looking like we will at the Aug. 21 Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. Trainers for […]

Malathaat's unbeaten record and versatile running style makes her an odds-on favorite to win the Grade 1 CCA Oaks at Saratoga. (Image: Jamie Newell/TwinSpires.com)

Where Did Everyone Go? Malathaat Scares Off Would-Be CCA Oaks Rivals

If you remember back in May, the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks is the race that Todd Pletcher put on Malathaat’s calendar. This was the race Pletcher and owner of the undefeated 3-year-old circled – as they were crossing off any Belmont Stakes plans. Now, because of Malathaat’s considerable […]

Wit breezed to an eight-length victory in Saturday's Sanford Stakes at Saratoga. He vaulted to the front of 2022 Kentucky Derby prospects, winning his two races by a combined 14 lengths. (Image: Susie Raisher/Coglianese Photos)

Wit Shows He’s No Joke as a Promising 2022 Kentucky Derby Prospect

It’s never too early to put promising 2-year-olds on your Kentucky Derby radar screen, which is why it’s time to say hello to one of the most promising juveniles of 2021 – Wit. The Todd Pletcher charge graduated to graded stakes champion on Saturday, capturing the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes […]

Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie hasn't finished worse than third in his last six races. He looks for his first Grade 1 victory as the 6/5 favorite in Saturday's Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park. (Image: Jamie Newell/TwinSpires.com)

A Triple Crown Placers War by the Jersey Shore Headlines Haskell Stakes

The first thought that comes to mind when you see Mandaloun, Midnight Bourbon and Hot Rod Charlie lined up as the three headliners for Saturday’s Grade 1 Haskell Stakes is that deja-vu sense of familiarity. You’ve seen these three clash repeatedly, but there’s something else about them that stands out. […]

Irish colt Bolshoi Ballet came across the Atlantic and grabbed favorite status in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational. The colt won two of his last three starts, including this score at the Ballysax Stakes. (Image: INPHO/Peter Mooney)

The Belmont Derby Gives You International Flavor, Domestic Depth

The Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational offers up a Kentucky Derby alum, along with a former Bob Baffert colt who may be the turf star of his generation. It also gives you one of Europe’s top turf terrors, straight from the barn of that continent’s top trainer – Aidan O’Brien. […]

The freakish speed of Life is Good returned to the track Thursday for the first time since March. When he's ready to race, Life is Good will do so under new trainer Todd Pletcher. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Life is Good Hits the Track, Hits the Road from Baffert to Pletcher

The fallout from Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s suspension from New York Racing Association tracks manifested itself again Thursday when WinStar Farm president and CEO Elliott Walden said he will send star 3-year-old Life is Good to Todd Pletcher once the horse is ready to return. That return may […]

Hot Rod Charlie hit the board in his last five races: two wins, a second and two thirds. Four of those came in graded stakes races, making him a legitimate Belmont Stakes threat. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Back to Being a Real Test: Breaking Down the 2021 Belmont Stakes

The 153rd Belmont Stakes wraps up an unpredictable 2021 Triple Crown season with what should be the best race of the three for horseplayers. If 12/1 Medina Spirit winning the Kentucky Derby was a shock to the handicapper’s system, what was 11/1 Rombauer winning the Preakness Stakes? Two horses considered […]

Essential Quality's Blue Grass Stakes wire victory over Highly Motivated was the Champion 2-Year-Old's fifth consecutive win. After finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby, the colt seeks to rebound as the 2/1 morning-line favorite in the 153rd Belmont Stakes. (Image: Kentuckyderby.com)

Essential Quality Returns to Triple Crown Trail as Belmont Stakes Favorite

Essential Quality duplicated the favorite status he enjoyed for the Kentucky Derby five weeks ago, taking 2/1 morning-line favorite odds into Saturday’s 153rd Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Tuesday morning’s Belmont Stakes draw put the Brad Cox-trained, Tapit progeny in post 2. He’s one of four Grade 1 winners and […]

Malathaat, seen here gaining on her Kentucky Oaks rivals, won't do the same against the boys in the Belmont Stakes. She needs to eat extra oat buckets to gain weight for the summer campaigns. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Undefeated Malathaat Won’t Tease the Boys in the Belmont Stakes

Without a Triple Crown storyline, race fans were salivating at the prospect of filly Malathaat jumping into the Belmont Stakes pool and tangling with the boys in the final jewel of the Triple Crown. But connections for the undefeated filly said Tuesday she will pass up the Belmont. Instead, the […]

Midnight Bourbon could be one of only two horses to run all three 2021 Triple Crown races.(Image: AP Photo)

Belmont Stakes Field Remains in Flux as Connections Ponder Options

While the Belmont Stakes field remains an early work in progress, several trainers with possible sights on the final jewel of the Triple Crown have either indicated interest or put their horses through workouts with that June 5 race in mind. The Belmont Stakes field of possibles starts with Kentucky […]

It's been a wild week for Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness Stakes morning-line favorite Medina Spirit. But the colt has no idea what controversy is. (Image: Maryland Jockey Club)

It’s Been A Spirited Week: Breaking Down the 2021 Preakness Stakes

Before we break down the field for the second jewel of the Triple Crown, we’ll dispense with the news everyone waited for concerning Saturday’s 146th Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Both Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit and Concert Tour passed their three pre-race drug tests, meaning they […]

Victor Espinoza and American Pharoah bid farewell after winning their final race: the 2015 Breedres' Cup Classic at Keeneland. The first Triple Crown winner in 37 years was a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection. (Image: Diane Bondareff/Invision for Longines)

American Pharoah, Todd Pletcher Earn Hall Nods in First Year of Eligibility

Voters to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame confirmed two of the easiest selections they’ll ever face when they selected Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher to the 2021 Hall of Fame class. American Pharoah and Pletcher earned election in the contemporary […]

Even as the field begins forming, Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun remains a maybe for the May 15 Preakness Stakes. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Preakness Plans Begin Taking Shape; Cox Remains on the Fence

As Brad Cox ponders his Preakness plans with Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun and fourth-place finisher Essential Quality, the Preakness field is taking shape around him. Maryland Jockey Club stakes coordinator Trish Bowman put out a preliminary list of prospects for the May 15 second leg of the Triple Crown. That […]

Bob Baffert said Medina Spirit was his most improbable Kentucky Derby winner. The Hall of Fame trainer said Medina Spirit came out of the Derby well and is likely for the Preakness Stakes. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Medina Spirit Comes Out of Derby Well, Likely for Preakness

Less than a day after Medina Spirit’s remarkable Kentucky Derby victory, trainer Bob Baffert said he’s on track for the May 15 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. Tentatively. “He came out of it well. It takes about a week to determine, so I’m going to come back next weekend and see,” […]

The Kentucky Derby is only Rock Your World's second start on dirt. He is the fastest horse in the field based on speed figures. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Almost Back to Normalcy: Breaking Down the 2021 Kentucky Derby

Welcome to the 2021 Kentucky Derby. And welcome back to what a normal Kentucky Derby looks like. Almost. The crowds? Well, they’re back – about 40,000. That’s a quarter of what normally turns Churchill Downs into a sporting bacchanalia. But there’s people in the stands. We’ll take it. The horses? […]

Dynamic One, seen here working out at Churchill Downs last Friday, is one of trainer Todd Pletcher's four Kentucky Derby entries. (Image: Churchill Downs)

Pletcher Plays Another Four of a Kind Kentucky Derby Hand

One trainer has four horses – a quarter of the field – in this year’s Kentucky Derby. Surprisingly, his name is Todd Pletcher, and not Bob Baffert. It’s one of those counterintuitive Derby facts that most casual horse racing fans stumble over. And it’s not their fault. Nor is it […]

Tuesday morning's draw for the 2021 Kentucky Derby from post 20 Bourbonic to post 1 Known Agenda. Those are two of trainer Todd Pletcher's four entries in Saturday's Run for the Roses. (Image: Churchill Downs)

Essential Quality Opens as 2/1 Favorite for 147th Kentucky Derby

As expected, Essential Quality checked in as the 2/1 morning-line favorite for the 147th Kentucky Derby. And Tuesday’s post-position Derby draw sends the undefeated colt and his favorite status into post 14 for Saturday’s 2021 Triple Crown opener. As he watched the posts fill up on Tuesday morning, this put […]