With only one week to go, some people are saying that the 139th Kentucky Derby should be “renamed the Todd Pletcher Invitational,” after it was confirmed that the legendary trainer would be running six horses there this year, including 4-1 favorite Verranzano.
Verrazano, undefeated in four starts, galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 1/5, seven furlongs in 1:26 4/5, and a mile in 1:41 3/5 during a workout last Sunday, adding to his standing as a top contender to capture this year’s Kentucky Derby for the Let’s Go Stable of Kevin Scatuorchio and Bryan Sullivan, Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor. The breeze was reported to be third best of 40 horses working that distance under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs.
“I thought he went great; he seemed to get over the track well and I liked what I saw,” stated trainer Todd Pletcher. “We wanted a good, five furlong breeze and we wanted him to sit behind another horse, finish up good, and gallop out strong. And we accomplished that.”
Pletcher was also busy prepping WinStar Farm’s Revolutionary, the game winner of the Louisiana Derby who breezed four furlongs in :48 4/5, 22nd fastest work of the day among 81 horses working that distance. The son of War Pass, who has won or placed in all six career starts, worked inside of stablemate Red Rifle in fractional splits of 12 3/5, :24 4/5, and :37. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 and six furlongs in 1:15 1/5.
Pletcher said three-time Derby winner Calvin Borel* was aboard Revolutionary for the first time for the workout and that horse and rider paired well.
Most widely known as Rachel Alexandra’s favorite jockey, Borel, who won the 2010 Derby for Pletcher and WinStar aboard Super Saver , picked up the Derby mount on Revolutionary after Javier Castellano decided to ride Normandy Invasion.
“We wanted Calvin to get familiar with him and we wanted a little less from him,” Pletcher said. “I loved the way he galloped out and Calvin was real happy with him. You need to see horses work well over this track and gallop out well and that’s what we saw this morning. To me that’s very important.”
“Calvin is a terrific rider and is at his best at Churchill Downs,” Pletcher said. “With the success we had with Super Saver, it seemed like a no-brainer to me.”
Pletcher, who also run Overanalyze (currently at odds of 12-1), Palace Malice, and Charming Kitten (66-1) in the Derby, stated that he has yet to make a decision about whether Winning Cause would be his sixth representative in the classic. The 3-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway earned 20 points toward the Derby with his win in the April 20 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. Immediately following the Lexington, contested two weeks before the Derby, Pletcher said it was 80% unlikely the colt would be pointed toward the Derby.
“Winning Cause came out of the Lexington well, but I have not talked to the owners about it [Derby],” Pletcher said. “We’ll see.”
*46-year old Borel is the only jockey to win three Kentucky Derbys in a 4-year stretch. In addition to Super Saver (2010), Calvin won with Street Sense (2009) and Mine The Bird (2007). To date he has won 5,012 races with purse earnings of $120,859,986. In addition, it was just announced that Borel has been elected to the 2013 Racing Hall of Fame and will be inducted on August 9th up in Saratoga, NY.