09/20/2013 3:17PM

Belmont Park: Shanghai Bobby's comeback win may lead to Breeders' Cup start

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Barbara D. Livingston
Shanghai Bobby (left) outfinishes Slan Abhaile to win his comeback race at Belmont Park on Friday.

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ELMONT, N.Y. – Shanghai Bobby, last year’s 2-year-old champion male, put himself in the picture for a return to the Breeders’ Cup with a neck victory in Friday’s $100,000 Aljamin Stakes at Belmont Park.

His connections now will have to decide whether to point for the $1.5 million Sprint or the $1 million Dirt Mile. Or, they could skip the Breeders’ Cup altogether and point to the Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler at Belmont on Oct. 26 as a prep for the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 30.

“I thought he ran well enough today to put us in the mix if we want to look at the Breeders’ Cup Sprint or the Dirt Mile, but we’ll see how he bounces out of it and how he’s doing,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Everything’s in play.”

Last year, Shanghai Bobby capped his championship 2-year-old season with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, which is the site of this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

If Shanghai Bobby runs in the Dirt Mile, he will most likely have to compete against stablemate Verrazano. If he runs in the Sprint, he will likely run into stablemate Forty Tales.

On Friday, Shanghai Bobby was making his first start since the Florida Derby on March 30 at Gulfstream Park. He finished fifth that day and came out of the race with a pelvic fracture, an issue that required time but no surgery.

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In the Aljamin, Shanghai Bobby, under John Velazquez, stalked the pace-setting Dads Caps through a quarter-mile of 22.58 seconds and a half-mile in 45.15.

In the stretch, Shanghai Bobby was carried out a path or two by Dads Caps as he was attempting to go past that rival while Slan Abhaile was making a sustained rally along the rail under Rajiv Maragh. Velazquez brought Shanghai Bobby over toward Slan Abhaile and he was able to outfinish that horse to the wire.

Shanghai Bobby covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in a respectable 1:15.79 and returned $3.20 as the favorite.

“I don’t think the track is super fast but 1:15-and-three is a pretty solid time,” Pletcher said. “Johnny was trying to time it correctly, not get there too soon and not wait too long.”

Velazquez was riding Shanghai Bobby for the first time and Pletcher did alert him to the fact that the horse has a tendency to wait on other horses.

Velazquez said when Dads Caps came out to him, Shanghai Bobby “finally got into it. But now I hit him and as soon as he put his head in front he just slows down. I said ‘Come on, don’t do that to me now.’ It was good though, he just makes you work for it.”

Jack Wolf, whose Starlight Stable owns part of Shanghai Bobby along with Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Susan Magnier, said he’ll leave the decision on where to point Shanghai Bobby to Pletcher.

“To me personally if he goes to the Breeders’ Cup fine, if he doesn’t . . . ” Wolf said. “Todd does such a good job placing these horses, I’ll defer to him.”

Mark More than 1 year ago
Cigar Mile seems likely with nyra bonus he d be running for $1 million in the Cigar . Same $ as BC dirt Mile and no Verrazano .
matt More than 1 year ago
This horse is dead money in either BC race.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Good return race but think he fits with these Slan Abhaile is that Breeders cup class. I doubt it if track position was reversed I think slan Abhaile would have won the race by a head. Nice return good luck against tougher
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
Try getting that kind of return at the bank, in 75.3 seconds.
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
By a neck? Too much sweat
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
As a fan, I'd like to see Bobby in Dirt Mile, not Sprint, but the best thing for the horse IMO is to run him in the Bold Ruler then Cigar Mile. We saw today how hard he had to dig to get past these nobodies...he'll get beaten badly in either Dirt Mile or Sprint...do what's right Todd.
B More than 1 year ago
Can't say I'm a big fan, but I completely agree with you. The usually significant Cigar Mile could be a tougher race than the usually insignificant Dirt Mile, but it would give him more time for conditioning. In either case, I kinda doubt he has a long future in racing.
Christopher Clark More than 1 year ago
can not think of the last time someone posted a great idea, Bobby going to have to pick it from here first race was probably a tightener, but he has some improving to do that is for sure...
Michael D More than 1 year ago
why is everyone knocking his comeback saying if Slan was on outside he would have won, didnt you hear JV the horse waits when he gets lead, horses sometimes just do what they need to do to win. Pletcher will run the horse where he thinks is the best spot for the horse, i am sure he appreciates your opinions. Saying he will get beaten badly in either race, geez Pletcher is the top trainer in the country and where he runs SB is where SB should be.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
You talk as if we're supposed to be blown away by his performance here...and yeah Todd is going to put him where he should be, my bet is anywhere but the Breeder's Cup.
not impressed More than 1 year ago
I agree too, I think rushing him to make the BC is stupid. It'd be like Uncle Mo all over again. I like the Bold Ruler - Cigar Mile approach better. He's got every chance to be back to his best form for his 4yo season.
edb More than 1 year ago
Good to see him in good form. . As far as Todd doing a good job placing horses, well good luck with that. Keep him healthy and skip BC. Regroup for next year. Just don't think he is ready off of one race.
Mark More than 1 year ago
umm your hate is blinding you from straight facts . http://www.equibase.com/stats/View.cfm?tf=year&tb=trainer yeah . he is doing a terrible job. maybe get a clue before making such statements. You could not be more distant from the truth.
Michael D More than 1 year ago
i agree with Mark there is some reason Todd gets the best horses in the world to train, he produces results and you dont win at that percentage without knowing how to place a horse and try to keep some of his horses apart. All these armchair trainers have no clue what it is like to train and or own and place.
edb More than 1 year ago
At least he doesn't kill his horses. Hey Mark, still have your Todd tickets from all his derby runners. Obviously doesn't get his horses ready for that race.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Trinniberg won BC Sprint last year, this horse could be as talented as a sprinter. Six furlongs might also be too short at grade one level. Why not throw them all in the BC Mile, isn't that Todd's game throw five in there and the most powerful barn horse is aloud to run like he is suppose to, the other four will be way way way back or get blinkers for the first time. Oh Oh Im in trouble I need get out of here. LOL. Let me hide in another forum.
JeanK More than 1 year ago
Bobby wins the cigar mile..... not enough time for a breeder's cup, he already has one. Next year he can win another one... I hope wild imagination of the manager does not interfere with his better judgement.as it did when he tried shooting for the Derby in 2013. Learn from the past to build a better future.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
If you win Bc juv the next is derby. Even though as I have said many time since Breeders begin no corrrelation between great two year old and great three year old
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
THIS is the type of colt for blinkers. Takes lead and looks back and waits. PRIME CANDIDATE! Who knows how good he can get if they work. Also. Very glad for connections. Spotting horses where they belong always helps.I like him in BC SPRINT like Mark says. Try working him in blinkers. I almost guarantee he doesn't try to hang when he passes everyone.
Sarah Kay-Brown More than 1 year ago
Unless I'm mistaken, Bobby has worn blinkers in all of his starts, including today's. His record is still very good, but they haven't seemed to keep him from waiting on other horses.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
You are correct. Just looked at PP's. Weird. Maybe French cups (open in back). They say Orb hesitates also when he gets in front.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
My theory Tom regarding the waiting on other horses issue with Bobby is that Pletcher likes to work his horses in company most of the time, usually side by side. I would try working him by himself a few times prior to his next race and see how he performs...my 2 cents.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Makes sense also.
Vince More than 1 year ago
I'm sure all of you know better than Todd Pletcher , after all what has he ever accomplished
Michael D More than 1 year ago
i am glad everyone is telling Todd how to train and i am sure Todd knows how to train this horse. Geez armchair trainers all over and how many champions have any of you ever trained or been around
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
A few graded winners in NY. A few in Florida. GEEZE. Truth be told. Todd does very little training of his horses. He has good help. Todd manages his stock and clients. Kinda like someone on Wallstreet would manage investors. John Velasquez gives him and assistants good feedback which definately helps. As do Javier and other riders. Vets diagnose problems and treat the horses through use of joint injections and supplements such as Legend joint fluid. They tell him what vitamins are lacking so he knows what to add as supplements to diet. He uses alcohol run on almost all his horses. And or post race poultice for swelling and heat. Doesn't really know how to work on a horse with sweats and hot cold therapy. Basically he runs up vet bills instead. Yes he wins but he has owners who buy top stock. Its easy to win buying Ferrari when others own Volkswagens. Do I sound like I am an armchair trainer?
Mark More than 1 year ago
Nice win . Great job by Todd and his barn . I would like to see him draw mid to outside in the bc sprint . slight cutback and second out should be real sharp in there. in a wide open division imo .
Perl More than 1 year ago
yup that's where he belongs agreed.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Sprint is wide open. Forty Tales should go to one turn Cigar Mile. Verrazano Dirt Mile Bobby Sprint. Or flip FT AND BOBBY. But I believe SB better at 3/4 of mile. Blinkers would help him too. So next rime you bring Todd his coffee...send the memo. JUST KIDDING