Always Dreaming and Patch, who arrived at Churchill Downs from Florida on Tuesday, took their first steps onto the main track at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning, with both galloping 1 3/8 miles.
“Always Dreaming was full of himself this morning,” Pletcher said of the Florida Derby (G1) winner. “He had an early ship yesterday, so he missed a day of training. He should be more settled tomorrow. I thought he got over the ground great.
“You look for positive signs the first day at a new track and they all showed that.”
Pletcher’s others Derby hopefuls — Battalion Runner, Tapwrit, and Malagacy — also galloped 1 3/8 miles, as did Master Plan.
“I am going to talk later with Mr. (Oussama) Aboughazale and discuss the possibilities with Malagacy,” Pletcher said of the colt’s owner. “There is only one race he would run at Churchill Downs and that would be the Derby.”
Pletcher said the Peter Pan (G3) at Belmont Park on May 13 was the immediate target for Master Plan.
In other Derby news, trainer Dale Romans announced Wednesday afternoon that Luis Saez has picked up the mount on Gotham (G3) winner J Boys Echo. He replaces Robby Albarado, who suffered an ankle injury in a racing accident at Keeneland last weekend that required surgery.
Derby contenders Practical Joke and State of Honor are scheduled to work Friday at Churchill during the 8:30 a.m. time reserved for Derby and Oaks contenders. Fast and Accurate, Gunnevera, and J Boys Echo are scheduled to work at the same time on Saturday morning.
The next breeze for TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Girvin has reportedly been pushed back to Saturday at Keeneland.