Tag: Todd Pletcher

Candy Man Rocket held on for a length victory in last month's Sam F. Davis Stakes. He'll need a better finishing kick to prevail in Saturday's Tampa Bay Derby. (Image: SV Photography)

Tampa Bay Derby Seeks a Sweet Path Out of Derby Prep Shadows

The Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby is one of those Kentucky Derby preps that often gets lost in the shuffle. Part of that is the giant shadow Tampa Bay Downs fights from its southern Florida neighbor, Gulfstream Park. Part of that is the fact only two horses emerged from the […]

One of the Kentucky Derby futures favorites, Greatest Honour is the 9/5 morning-line favorite to win Saturday's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park. (Image: Ryan Thompson/Coglianese Photography)

Drinking From This Fountain of Youth Often Portends Derby Dreams

Once you get past the obvious, that Greatest Honour is clearly the favorite to add the Fountain of Youth to his Gulfstream Park Kentucky Derby prep resume, this race opens up a wealth of other storylines. Can Fire At Will handle dirt as well as he handled turf? Is Prime […]

Smiley Sobotka broke his maiden at Keeneland in October. He owns that win and two seconds in three races coming into Saturday's Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. (Image: Coady Photography)

You Never Know What Champions Come Out of Sam F. Davis Stakes

Three years ago, a horse named Flameaway captured the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. The Mark Casse-trained colt set a stakes record for the 1 1/16 miles – 1:42.44. Flameaway would finish second in the Tampa Bay Derby. He would win a minor stakes as […]

Jockey Dylan Davis had plenty of high-fives to deliver after delivering a 6 3/4-length victory aboard Capo Kane in the Jerome. Davis and Capo Kane are the 3/1 second-favorite in Saturday's Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. (Image: Janet Garaguso/NYRA)

The Withers: A Derby Prep Running on History

The Withers predates the Kentucky Derby by one year, a testament to its one-time status as one of the country’s prestigious spring races. This race once held court just below the Triple Crown races in terms of status and prestige. Man o’ War? Won the 1920 Withers. Native Dancer? Your […]

Between them, Todd Pletcher (left) and Bob Baffert own eight Kentucky Derby victories. Pletcher (45) and Baffert (23) have the most Triple Crown early nominated horses for 2021. (Image: Doug Engle/AP File)

Essential Quality Leads 326-Strong Triple Crown Nomination Parade

Getting your horse a Triple Crown nomination used to be so simple that connections to this year’s 3-year-old hopefuls nominated 326 horses to compete in the three American Classic races this spring. Those 326 nominations represent a slight, 6.1% dip from last year’s 347 early nominees. Those connections paid $600 […]

Known Agenda (inside) beat Greatest Honour in this November maiden special weight at Aqueduct. He returns to Derby prep action this weekend in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. (Image: Coglianese Photo)

Weekend Stakes: Not Every Good 3-Year-Old Race is a Derby Prep

We’ll see several Kentucky Derby hopefuls return this weekend when two East Coast Grade 3 Derby preps headline the stakes races. And, we’ll meet some Kentucky Oaks contenders in two Oaks preps – one on each coast. At the same time, we’ll see a Grade 2 for 3-year-olds that isn’t […]

The versatile Mutasaabeq owns stakes victories on turf and dirt -- like this one in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes. The colt suffered a minor shin injury during a workout that takes him off the Kentucky Derby Trail. (Image: Lauren King, Coglianese Photos)

Mutasaabeq Exits Kentucky Derby Trail After Shin Injury

Mere days before he was set to run in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park, Mutasaabeq suffered a shin injury that will take the Kentucky Derby prospect off the Triple Crown trail. Trainer Todd Pletcher told reporters the injury – while frustrating for an upper-level Derby contender – […]

Colonel Liam's victory in the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf certainly earned a thumbs-up from jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. Could he be the older American turf star that division needs? (Image: Lauren King/Coglianese Photos)

Colonel Liam Ripe for Promotion After Clutch Pegasus Turf Victory

If American Thoroughbred racing has a quality gap, it’s in the area that Colonel Liam addressed on Saturday – the older male turf division. That division needs a standout, a go-to, must-watch horse who can grab eyes every time he enters a gate. And with his neck victory over stablemate […]

Colonel Liam put on stars with this resounding Tropical Park Derby victory last month. He is the 7/2 morning-line favorite in the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf. (Image: Lauren King/Coglianese Photos)

Colonel Liam Leads Pletcher Charge in $1 Million Pegasus Turf

As strange as it is to understand, turf maestro Chad Brown doesn’t have a horse in the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf. Meanwhile, his East Coast training rival, Todd Pletcher, is bringing three charges to what is typically the best winter turf route race of the year. Before we […]

Knicks Go and Joel Rosario won the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last November. The 5-year-old Brad Cox charge is the 5/2 favorite for Saturday's Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park. (Image: Skip Dickstein)

Knicks Go Draws Prime Pegasus Post, Tabbed as 5/2 Favorite

With three straight victories in as many 2020 starts, Knicks Go is exactly the type of horse who wins the Pegasus World Cup Invitational. Now, add a prime starting spot from Post 4 to the mix, and it’s easy to understand how Knicks Go became the 5/2 favorite when Pegasus […]

California grape farmers Kosta (left) and younger brother Pete Hronis may have harvested a Kentucky Derby prospect in Rock Your World. He is (Image: Benoit Photo)

Kentucky Derby Futures: Playing the Trainer-Owner Partnership Game

Two weeks ago, we saw Kentucky Derby futures prospect Mutasaabeq impressively move from the turf to the dirt. The question this week is, can Rock Your World do the same thing? The Circa Sports Derby futures book seems to think so. It put 33/1 odds on the Candy Ride colt, […]

Todd Pletcher usually has a reason to smile around Gulfstream Park. He sends a quarter of the 12-horse field into the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. (Image: Coglianese Photography)

Pletcher’s Trio Leads Pegasus World Cup Turf Invite List

Todd Pletcher’s considerable depth at Gulfstream Park manifested itself again when the Hall of Fame trainer snagged three of the 16 invites to the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, the companion race to the Pegasus World Cup Invitational. The Grade 1, 1-3/16-mile Pegasus Turf runs Jan. 23 as […]

Mutasaabeq already owns a Grade 2 victory with his Bourbon Stakes win in October. He'll try duplicating the feat back on dirt in Saturday's Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park. (Image: Coady Photography)

Mutasaabeq Trades Turf for Dirt As Mucho Macho Man Favorite

You’ve seen Mutasaabeq on the front page of Kentucky Derby futures prospects. Now, you’ll see him back on dirt in Saturday’s Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park. When you do, you’ll see the Todd Pletcher-trained, son of Into Mischief take marquee status in Gulfstream Park’s first Derby prep of […]

Sittin On Go turned in a go-go performance winning the Iroquois Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard. He makes his 3-year-old debut as one of the sophomores to watch in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park. (Image: Jamie Newell/Twin Spires)

Life Is Good for Derby Prep Watchers on this Weekend’s Stakes Slate

Life Is Good returns this weekend as the leading player among several Kentucky Derby contenders and would-be contenders among three Derby preps on both coasts. And those Derby contenders and would-be Derby contenders? They lose their juvenile status and become official 3-year-olds on Friday. Aqueduct, Santa Anita Park, and Gulfstream […]

Prime Factor became a prime Kentucky Derby futures bet after he and Irad Ortiz Jr. blitzed a Gulfstream Park maiden field by 7 3/4 lengths. (Image: Ryan Thompson/Coglianese Photo)

Prime Factor Becomes Choice Derby Futures Pick After Debut Romp

There were no high-profile stakes races for 2-year-olds last weekend, a fact that didn’t prevent high-profile movement in this week’s Kentucky Derby futures odds. The highest-profile movement came from a new entry to the front rank of Derby prospects, the aptly named Prime Factor. Before his 8-¾-length victory in his […]

Factor This won the Muniz Memorial Classic at Fair Grounds in record time. He's looking for his fourth Grade 2 win in as many tracks at Saturday's Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale Stakes. (Image: Lou Hodges/Hodges Photography)

Fort Lauderdale Stakes Makes the Grade as Great Handicapper’s Race

Somehow, the Fort Lauderdale Stakes slipped through the grading cracks. How else to explain Saturday’s $200,000 turf battle at Gulfstream Park being “only” a Grade 2? With this field – eight of the 10 horses in Saturday’s Fort Lauderdale are stakes winners, six of those graded – the Fort Lauderdale […]

Kendrick Carmouche still hasn't come down from his first Grade 1 win, piloting True Timber to the Cigar Mile winner's circle last Saturday. Carmouche won his first NYRA riding title during Aqueduct's fall meet. (Image: Eclipse Sportswire)

Carmouche Breaks Into Big Time with First NYRA Riding Crown

Between 2008 and 2011, Kendrick Carmouche won seven riding titles at Parx, outside Philadelphia, staking his claim as that track’s dominant jockey and earning a spot in its Hall of Fame. But that was at Parx; a nice track, but a track out in the riding provinces. Now, Carmouche is […]