11/01/2011 12:21PM

Churchill Downs: Pluck out to revive past glory

Tom Keyser
Pluck, with Garrett Gomez up, wins the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. After two starts this year, he was found to have bruising in his hind cannon bones.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Nearly a year after he streaked down the center of the Churchill Downs turf course to stamp himself as a horse for the future, Pluck has done nothing to fulfill that huge potential. Hindered by bone bruising in his hind cannon bones, the colt will be trying to reprise a happy Breeders’ Cup theme when he returns to action at Churchill on Thursday in a competitive eighth running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Commonwealth Turf.

The 1 1/16-mile Commonwealth anchors a 12-race card Thursday, the eve of the two-day Breeders’ Cup at Churchill.

Pluck rallied from far back with an eye-catching run to capture the BC Juvenile Turf here last fall, but after two disappointing efforts to open his 3-year-old season, a full body scan revealed the bruising.

“We’ve given him plenty of time to get over it,” said trainer Graham Motion. “It’s a pretty tough spot off the layoff, but with all he’s done, there’s really nowhere else to start. He’s trained very well and seems to be feeling good, so hopefully he’ll give a good account of himself.”

Pluck, with Julien Leparoux to ride, was assigned post 2 in the Commonwealth, which is oversubscribed with 13 3-year-olds. Only as many as 10 can start.

Right alongside in post 3 is the 5-2 morning-line favorite, Silver Medallion, a Todd Pletcher-trained colt coming off a sharp allowance effort in a Woodbine turf sprint. John Velazquez has the mount.

Other contenders in the Commonwealth include Perregaux, a tough-trip sixth in his last start at Keeneland; Wilkinson, most recently third in the Grade 1 Jamaica at Belmont; and Salto, clearly the wild card of the group in his first North American start following a solid start to his career in France.

The Commonwealth is carded as the 11th race Thursday, when first post is 12:40 p.m. Eastern. The feature goes at 5:43, and the 12th race at 6:13.

The Thursday program also includes three allowances (races 3, 8, 10), the first of which drew Dubious Miss, a four-time Churchill winner who gets Calvin Borel for just his second start in nearly eight months. Soul Warrior and Our Dark Knight appear to be the chief opposition among the six others entered in the one-turn mile race, which also carries an $80,000 claiming option.

First post here Friday is 2 p.m., while the Saturday races start at 12:05.