11/02/2012 1:39PM

Aqueduct: Pletcher has pair of debut winners for Nashua

Barbara D. Livingston
Darwin was a $1.3 million sale-topping 2-year-old at Fasig-Tipton in Florida.

While Shanghai Bobby was in Southern California on Saturday trying to put the finishing touches on a championship season, two of his stablemates will be at Aqueduct on Sunday jockeying for position on the hierarchy of trainer Todd Pletcher’s collection of 2-year-olds.

Darwin and Violence, a pair of first-out maiden winners, head Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Nashua Stakes, which drew a field of seven. The Nashua, run as a one-turn, one-mile race, shares billing with the Grade 3, $150,000 Tempted Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on the nine-race card. First post Sunday is 12:20 p.m. and the Nashua goes as race 8.

Darwin, who at $1.3 million was the sale-topper at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of select 2-year-olds in training, won a six-furlong maiden race by two lengths at Belmont on Oct. 6. A son of Big Brown, he showed good speed away from the gate, ran six furlongs in 1:09.54 and earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure.

“It was kind of what we expected him to do based on the way he’d been training – win impressively – and he’s trained very well since then,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Darwin, owned by Coolmore, is saddled with the rail on Sunday. John Velazquez rides.

Violence, a son of Medaglia d’Oro who brought $600,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling auction, overcame a slow start to win a seven-furlong maiden race at Saratoga on Aug. 18. The horse he beat by a neck, Titletown Five, came back to win a maiden race by nine lengths for trainer D. Wayne Lukas on Oct. 28 at Churchill Downs.

Violence, owned by Black Rock Stables, missed a little training time with what Pletcher described as a minor shin issue. Violence shows three solid works and went evenly in company with Darwin last Saturday.

“He’s a Medaglia d’Oro colt who we anticipate is going to improve as he stretches out,” Pletcher said. “He’s kind of a big, leggy colt, still filling out, maturing.”

Violence will break from post 3 under Javier Castellano.

Stormy Len won his well-bet debut going seven furlongs in a 10-horse field for trainer David Donk on Sept. 29.

Though Donk believes Stormy Len’s future might be on the grass, he is intrigued to see how this son of Harlan’s Holiday stacks up in a dirt stakes.

“He showed good speed, trained very well since. We’ll match him up with a couple of Todd’s on Sunday and see what we got,” Donk said.

Donk doesn’t believe Stormy Len is fast enough to get the early lead in the Nashua, which is why he is happy to have drawn post 6 in the seven-horse field. Ramon Dominguez rides.

“It should give Ramon some options to see what he wants do.” Donk said.

The only multiple winner in the field is Vegas No Show, a son of Hard Spun who comes off a nose victory in the Dover Stakes for trainer Kelly Breen and owners George and Lori Hall.

Irsaal, an off-the-turf maiden winner, Really Sharp, who was disqualified from second and placed sixth in the Bourbon on turf at Keeneland, and Candy Raider, a winner for maiden $50,000 claimer, complete the lineup.

◗ King Kreesa, second in the Grade 1 Jamaica at Belmont on Oct. 6, and Yari, third in the Equalize Stakes at Saratoga in August, head a field of nine entered in the $80,000 Montserrat Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.