Pletcher's armada massing for Belmont Stakes
After bypassing the Preakness, trainer Todd Pletcher has a deep group of contenders for the June 8 Belmont Stakes.
"We have a few candidates, but we haven't firmed up the line-up just yet," Pletcher said.
Two of his Derby also-rans, Overanalyze and Palace Malice, breezed at Belmont Park Sunday, as did the filly Unlimited Budget.
Palace Malice sped a half-mile on the good training track in :47.49, while Overanalyze covered the same ground in :47.50. The colts posted the day's second and third-best times, respectively, at the trip. Unlimited Budget clocked :49.
"Overanalyze breezed this morning and breezed well," Pletcher said. "We are planning to run him. We breezed Palace Malice and talked to (Cot) Campbell (of Dogwood Stable). We plan to run him.
"Revolutionary will have two breezes starting next Sunday. We plan to run him.
"Mike Repole is going to be the key to how many other horses we run. He has several possibilities (in addition to Overanalyze).
"Unlimited Budget breezed this morning, and she is possible. Micromanage is here and will breeze next Sunday, and we'll make a decision after that."
WinStar Farm's Revolutionary, winner of the Withers in February at Aqueduct and the Louisiana Derby in March at Fair Grounds, was Pletcher's highest finisher in the 2013 Kentucky Derby, reporting home third, beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Orb.
Overanalyze, victorious in the Arkansas Derby in April at Oaklawn, was 11th in the Derby, with Blue Grass runner-up Palace Malice tiring to 12th after setting a fast pace.
Unlimited Budget, third in the Kentucky Oaks on May 3, would be attempting to emulate Rags to Riches, who in 2007 became the first filly since 1905 to win the Belmont. Rags to Riches is Pletcher's only Belmont Stakes winner to date. Micromanage is exiting a neck victory in an optional claimer on May 11 at Monmouth Park.
Pletcher is a former assistant to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who on Saturday picked up his sixth Preakness victory when he sent out Oxbow to a front-running win under Gary Stevens.
"I was very happy for Wayne and Gary; it was a tremendous accomplishment for both of them," Pletcher said. "I thought Gary rode a very, very smart race and took advantage of the pace scenario, and the horse delivered a big performance."
Oxbow, the Preakness Stakes winner, departed Pimlico before dawn on Sunday and vanned to Lukas' barn at Churchill Downs, according to Pimlico officials. The colt is expected to aim for the Belmont Stakes.
According to NYRA Stakes Coordinator Andrew Byrnes, Oxbow currently is slated to face Freedom Child, Golden Soul, Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Revolutionary. Bob Baffert will run either Code West or Power Broker. Orb and Itsmyluckyday are possible.
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