Trainer Todd Pletcher sent one-fifth of the 20-horse field in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, and while all four exited the contest in good order one was still trying to get the mud off on Sunday.
“Everybody came back well. Everybody’s happy and sound today,” Pletcher said. “I thought Audible ran great. I love the way he finished and am proud of his effort.”
Audible did best of the Pletcher quartet, just missing second by a head while securing third by 1 3/4 lengths under jockey Javier Castellano.
“I went back and watched Audible’s race several times and I’m even more impressed with his effort,” Pletcher admitted. “He couldn’t adjust to the track to start and was having a hard time dealing with the kickback. But when Javier got him running, he was really coming on. All things considered, he ran really well.”
Vino Rosso filled the ninth spot with jockey John Velazquez in the irons after running in the rear of the field through the first six furlongs.
“Vino Rosso just didn’t like the track; not at all,” Pletcher said. “We had to flush a lot of dirt and mud out of all their eyes last night, but I don’t ever remember flushing more mud out of a horse’s eyes that we did with him. We were still flushing it out this morning.”
Noble Indy and Florent Geroux came in 17th and Magnum Moon beat only Mendelssohn under the wire in 19th.
“Magnum Moon had issues away from the gate – they did some bumper car things away from there – and then he never got in a rhythm with it. He was struggling with the track, too,” Pletcher said. “Noble Indy got the trip we wanted, he just wasn’t up to it in the end.”
Pletcher took time to praise the winner of Saturday’s sloppy Kentucky Derby.
“Justify is a super impressive horse,” he said.
All four of the trainer’s Derby runners are scheduled to head to New York and Belmont Park on Monday. Pletcher was noncommittal Sunday on their participation in the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) on May 19 at Pimlico in Maryland.
“I’ll have to talk to the owners concerning them,” Pletcher said, “but in the case of Vino Rosso we’ll almost assuredly go for the Belmont (Stakes [G1] on June 9). Vinny (Viola of St. Elias Stable) and Mike (Repole of Repole Stable) are New York guys and winning the Belmont is something they want to do. The horse is bred for it and he’ll be going there.
“I think with Magnum Moon (owned by Lawana and Robert Low), we’re going to give him a break and freshen him up. We’ll figure out plans for Audible (owned by China Horse Club International, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm) and Noble Indy (owned by WinStar Farm and Repole Stable).”
Pletcher himself said he had hoped to catch a plane to his New York base later on Sunday.