Pletcher horses visit the track; Orb walks shedrow day
The “Todd Squad” all went trackside through the six-furlong gap at Churchill
Downs Tuesday morning right after 8:30 (EDT) at the conclusion of the track’s
The five sparkling bays trained by Todd Pletcher were going to take advantage
of the special Oaks/Derby 15-minute period where the runners in those races have
the track all to themselves for training. And train they did, four of them
galloping a mile and a quarter and one just jogging one time around the
The jogger was Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary, the son of War Pass who
had exercise rider Nick Bush attached for his leg-stretching. He was around and
headed back to Barn 34 well before his stablemates.
Following him were the foursome of Verrazano, Overanalyze, Charming Kitten
and Palace Malice. Heeding the trainer’s start-and-finish-pole instructions —
“Seven to the five” — they each had been galloped a mile and a quarter under
their partners — Humberto Zamora (Verrazano), Obed Perez (Overanalyze), Patti
Krotenko (Charming Kitten) and Jake Nelson (Palace Malice).
Pletcher, who stood inside the gap with a set of binoculars to watch his
charges go through their drills, simply said “All good” when asked about his
crew as he returned to the barn.
The trainer noted further that he will “paddock” his Derby quintet with
horses for Wednesday’s second race. He also had news about his rider for
Verrazano, Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, who hasn’t ridden since sustaining
rib and wrist injuries in a spill at Aqueduct in New York on April 7.
“I understand Johnny was to get on horses this morning at Belmont (Park),”
Pletcher said. “Then he’s going to ride some races there tomorrow.”
Besides Verrazano, Velazquez also has the call on Pletcher’s Dreaming of
Julia in Friday’s $1 million Kentucky Oaks.
One day after turning in a sharp four-furlong breeze, Stuart Janney III and
Phipps Stable’s Orb walked the shedrow at Barn 43 at Churchill Downs Tuesday
The Florida Derby winner was clocked in :47 4/5 Monday before galloping out
five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 under exercise rider Jennifer Patterson, who remained
motionless throughout the workout. His dazzling work has led to speculation that
Orb may have wrested the Kentucky Derby favorite’s role from undefeated
“He had an awfully good work yesterday and he’s done awful well since he’s
been at Churchill. Even before all that I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d
been the post-time favorite,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “But Verrazano very
much deserves to be the (morning-line) favorite. He probably deserves to be the
McGaughey said there is very little to choose between Orb and Verrazano, who
won the Wood Memorial in his most recent start.
“He’s done nothing wrong. We’ve done nothing wrong over the winter,”
McGaughey said. “We got here and have done good and Verrazano has done very
well. I saw him come off the track this morning and he thought he looked the
picture. I thought he galloped very good over it. So whatever they do (in
selecting the Derby favorite), is fine with me. The biggest thing I’m hoping is
we get there Saturday as well as we’re doing right now and get something done