Tag: Todd Pletcher

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 […]

Undefeated Malathaat and John Velazquez go for their fifth consecutive victory as the 5/2 favorite in Friday's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. (Image: Keeneland Photo)

Unbeaten Malathaat Takes Favorite Status in Kentucky Oaks

Malathaat and her undefeated record earned 5/2 morning-line favorite status for Friday’s 147th Kentucky Oaks at Monday morning’s post-position draw and morning-line announcement. The 1 1/8-mile Oaks anchors Churchill Downs’ 13-race, six-stakes Friday card. The 14-filly field of 3-year-olds runs for a $767,250 first-prize check out of the $1.25 million […]

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 – […]