01/08/2013 6:45PM

2012 Eclipse Awards: Violence

photo by: Benoit & Associates

His name may elicit varying degrees of emotions, but there is one fact that is virtually unanimous: Violence is scary good.

One of a plethora of stakes-winning juveniles who resided in the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher last year, Violence went 3 for 3 in 2012, capped by a 1 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 15. His unblemished record, including two graded stakes victories, made him a finalist for the Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding 2-year-old male.

Violence, a son of Medaglia d’Oro bred by Dell Ridge Farm LLC, brought $600,000 as a yearling at the 2011 Keeneland September sale – nearly six times as much as stablemate and fellow Eclipse finalist Shanghai Bobby. He was purchased by Steven Marshall’s Black Rock Stables LLC.

Violence debuted Aug. 18 at Saratoga, where, after breaking a step slowly, he ran down Titletown Five at the wire to win by a neck despite getting bumped at the wire by that rival late. Titletown Five, a horse trained by D. Wayne Lukas who was making his third start, came back to win a maiden race by nine lengths at Churchill Downs.

Following his maiden win, Violence did not race for 11 weeks, owing to “minor baby stuff,” according to Pletcher. Instead of rushing the horse back to try and make a Breeders’ Cup race, Pletcher and Marshall targeted the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 4.

Despite bearing in a couple of times in the stretch, Violence won the Nashua by two lengths over Vegas No Show, who was coming off a stakes win at Delaware Park in his previous start.

Rather than rush Violence back in 20 days for the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct, Pletcher opted to ship Violence cross-country for the CashCall Futurity. Though it was his first race around two turns and first over a synthetic surface, Violence was more than up to the challenge in the 11-horse field, winning by 1 1/4 lengths.

“To me, the maiden win was very impressive. You don’t see a debuting 2-year-old run that way very often against a horse that came back to break his maiden the way he did,” Pletcher said. “We thought he was a good horse going into the race, more so after that.”

Regarding Violence’s juvenile campaign as a whole, Pletcher said, “I don’t know what he could have done to be more impressive than he’s been so far, unless if he had run in the Breeders’ Cup.”

And Pletcher believes the best is yet to come for Violence.

“He’s a big, leggy colt who is starting to fill out and grow into himself,” Pletcher said recently. “He’s got a wonderful disposition and a great mind. He’s an easy horse to train.”

Violence is in training at the Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach, Fla., and plans call for him to make his 3-year-old debut in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 23.