Revolutionary, Overanalyze to await Belmont Stakes
Things were much more on the mellow side Sunday morning at trainer Todd Pletcher's Barn 34 on the Churchill Downs backstretch following Saturday's running of the Kentucky Derby. The conditioner, a major player in America's most famous race for the past 14 years, had once more been in the thick of the fray for Derby 139 with five of the 19 runners in the 10-furlong classic with the buzz around his stable all week proving sizable.
On Sunday the barn went on quite hum, just the everyday business of running the most successful stable in the country. Horses were groomed, walked and fed, while tack was being packed for an anticipated ship to the outfit's New York headquarters.
The Derby outcome was less-than-hoped-for for Pletcher and those involved with his quintet. Revolutionary fared best of the team in third. Charming Kitten was ninth, followed by Overanalyze (11th), Palace Malice (12th) and Verrazano (14th).
But the conditioner is a pro's pro and he knows -- better than most -- that the Kentucky Derby is about as tough as it gets when you're trying to win a horse race. It was lick-your-wounds and move on time.
"They all came out of it sound," he said, "and we'll ship them to Belmont (Park) on Monday."
Revolutionary, Charming Kitten, Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Verrazano had tried their best on the sloppy and sealed Churchill strip. And they'd all run again.
"Off a quick conversation I had with Elliott (Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm), Revolutionary will go straight to the Belmont (Stakes on June 8). He ran really well yesterday and it was a shame he had all the trouble he did with position during the race. The way he galloped out, I wished he'd have had a clear path so he could have shown what he could do."
Overanalyze also was Belmont-bound.
"(Owner) Mike Repole also indicated we'd go next in the Belmont with his horse. He got shuffled around on the turn in the Derby, but came on late. It wasn't a horrible effort; actually it wasn't bad at all.
"I was very pleased with Charming Kitten's race. He ran great. For a horse running his first time on dirt, in a field like that on a track like that, he did very well. But he'll go back to grass now. That's where he belongs."
Owner Ken Ramsey is reportedly eyeing a tilt at Royal Ascot for Charming Kitten, who holds an engagement in the June 18 St James's Palace for three-year-olds at a mile.
The conditioner wasn't so sure about future plans for his other two starters, Palace Malice and Verrazano.
"Mike (jockey Mike Smith) said if he rode him again, he wouldn't send him away from the gate like he did. Once the horse got going, he didn't want to come back. We'll take him up to New York now and look around and figure out where we want to go with him next.
"Verrazano just never seemed to travel well at all. I think the track really affected him. Somewhere along the way yesterday somebody stepped on his rear left hock and left an abrasion on it. It isn't that serious and I don't think it was the reason for why he ran the way he did, but it was just indicative of what kind of race it was. We'll step back with him, too, and make a plan at some point."
The trainer was appreciative of Orb and his good run in winning the Derby by 2 1/2 lengths.
"The ones that win it usually put themselves in a great position to do so. Orb certainly did that yesterday."
Pletcher's five runners on Saturday bring his Derby record to 36 starters, one win, two seconds and two thirds.
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