05/20/2013 3:24PM

Belmont Stakes: Pletcher may saddle four contenders or more

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Tom Keyser
Revolutionary, most recently third in the Kentucky Derby, likely will run in the June 8 Belmont Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – After running five horses in the Kentucky Derby and none in the Preakness, trainer Todd Pletcher is preparing another small army for the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 8.

Pletcher is likely to run four horses in the Belmont and possibly more, depending on owner Mike Repole.

On Monday, Pletcher said Revolutionary (third in the Kentucky Derby), Overanalyze (11th), and Palace Malice (12th) were definitely pointing to the Belmont. Repole said the filly Unlimited Budget, third in the Kentucky Oaks, is almost certain to run, while he and Pletcher also will consider Micromanage and Midnight Taboo based on how they train in the coming weeks.

“I want to win this race,” said Repole, a native New Yorker who finished second in the 2011 Belmont with Stay Thirsty. “But I’m not going to do something dumb or stupid to win the race.”

On Sunday, Overanalyze, Palace Malice, and Unlimited Budget returned to the work tab for the first time in two weeks. Overanalyze and Midnight Taboo worked a half-mile together over the Belmont training track in 47.51 seconds. Pletcher called it “an enthusiastic breeze” for both horses.

Pletcher does not yet have a rider for Overanalyze. It is expected that John Velazquez would ride one of the Repole-owned starters.

Unlimited Budget worked a half-mile in 49.07 in company with the 3-year-old male Jack Milton, the winner of the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes on turf at Keeneland last out. Pletcher didn’t have an excuse for Unlimited Budget, who suffered her first defeat in the Oaks when third to stablemate Princess of Sylmar.

“At the top of the stretch, I thought she was the most likely winner, and she flattened out the last part,” Pletcher said. “She’s a very talented filly who has run well every start of her life.”

Pletcher remains high on Palace Malice, who still is eligible for a first-level allowance race. After earning his way into the Kentucky Derby with a second-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes, Palace Malice ran off with jockey Mike Smith in the Derby, setting blistering fractions before fading to 12th. He wore blinkers for that race and probably will not wear them in the Belmont, Pletcher said.

On Sunday, Palace Malice breezed four furlongs in 47.49 at Belmont.

“I still think he’s a very good horse,” Pletcher said. “He ran a big race in the Blue Grass, and I feel like he’s got a big win in him. He came out of the Derby very well. He breezed great yesterday. He’s a son of Curlin out of a Royal Anthem mare, so the pedigree suggests a mile and a half is within his scope.”

Pletcher said Smith would be back aboard Palace Malice for the Belmont.

Revolutionary will breeze only twice leading up to the Belmont and thus did not work Sunday. Javier Castellano, who was aboard Revolutionary for wins in the Withers Stakes and Louisiana Derby but took off to ride Normandy Invasion in the Kentucky Derby, will get the mount back for the Belmont.

Mary Hansen More than 1 year ago
I was surprised to hear Palace Malice was entered in the Belmont. I am a huge fan of Curlin and had high hopes for his offspring to do well. Poor Palace Malice has yet to find his niche. He has had several riders since he has been on the Triple Crown trial. I knew he would probably do well in the slop as Curlin won his 1st Breeders Cup classic in the mud, but was totally amazed he bolted out to the front so early. Curlin was mostly a come front behind horse. I wish him luck in the Belmont. I wish him the best even though I may be leaning to Golden Soul in the Belmont.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Stuff like this is bad for the sport in a big way. It takes the air out of the balloon as a fan when you look and see half the field is saddled by one trainer. I hope they all run out the top 4.
George Sudduth More than 1 year ago
Sure why not............let's see how many he can come up with
redboy More than 1 year ago
He saddles half the field and only comes up with a 3rd place finish.SWEET
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
IMO if Pletcher didn't have SO MANY horses to oversee I do believe he would do alot better as a trainer and would win more races for his owners, but as we all know $$$$$$$ makes people do funny things. Am glad to head that Pletcher is trying to saddle more than half the field for the Belmont if not all the field LOL. What a joke..........
russell More than 1 year ago
They need to take the blinkers off Palace Malice. He ran like a QH in the Derby.
George Sudduth More than 1 year ago
how about better instructions from a new trainer
tim More than 1 year ago
Hes got all the money and nice suits and watches.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
What a Joke.
Steve Reed More than 1 year ago
Pletcher has still only won two {2} Triple Crown races he better mount up if he going to catch D. Wayne has alot of ground to make up
redboy More than 1 year ago
You always have to respect the Pletcher horses ,since he;s always loaded.and their always dangerous.Whats bothersome is It seems as of late his approach is to load t the gates with as many horses as he can and try to get the win with sheer numbers,you almost begin to wonder even though his entries arent coupled is their a remote possibilty that the owners of these entries somehow connected,and im only talking strictly Big purse stakes races where the entry fees are somewhat high. Example Owner A gets his entry fees reimbursed and a percentage of the winning purse in exchange for his horse either playing rabbit or squatting in a position that favorable to the winning owners horse. Its starting to get hard to believe that you can be objective when entering 4 or 5 horses in a race
George Sudduth More than 1 year ago
You do?
redboy More than 1 year ago
The pletcher clan has come to the rescue.....PLETCHER PLETCHER PLETCHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
WafflesCharly More than 1 year ago
True
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Todd plectcher is a top horseman One of the best ever.
George Sudduth More than 1 year ago
He's a bit different from some of the greats in my opinion
tim More than 1 year ago
I agree, and the best dresser too. The George Clooney of horse racing.
John More than 1 year ago
One of the best ever? Are you kidding me? All the million dollar horses thrown his way and he has accomplished little in my book. He had to ruin Rags To Riches to get his Belmont. Super Saver was a farce who won because of Borel. Having racing officials create a race for Uncle Mo was a disgrace and he proved what type of horse he really was. Now it's Verrazano. Any good horseman knew this More Than Ready colt would never go long.
WafflesCharly More than 1 year ago
He is one of the best of his generation.......one of the best ever?...that's a stretch. Great business man, no doubt, but no shot against the Whitingham, Barrera, Woody Stephens, Jerkens.....etc
Paul Solomon More than 1 year ago
a great business yes that he is. As far a being a great horseman I think not. I bet he can't even put a standing bandage on a race horse. His asst trainers do all the work he gets all the glory. Give him the kind of horses the average trainers get and you'll see just how great he really is. I'm not knocking his success and wish him the best, but for anyone to call him a great trainer then they must not know a thing about training a thoroughbred,