04/21/2013 8:46AM

Kentucky Derby: Pletcher will wait and see whether to run Lexington winner Winning Cause

Barbara D. Livingston
If Winning Cause enters the Kentucky Derby, it would give trrainer Todd Pletcher a record six horses in the race.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday morning at Churchill Downs that no decision will be made until as late as next weekend as to whether Winning Cause will run in the 139th Kentucky Derby.

Winning Cause became eligible for the May 4 Derby by earning 20 points with his 6-1 victory Saturday under Julien Leparoux in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.

Owned by the Alto Racing LLC of New Mexico banker Gil Moutray, Winning Cause could become the sixth starter in the Derby for Pletcher, joining Verrazano, Revolutionary, Overanalyze, Palace Malice, and Charming Kitten. The record for most starters for a trainer in one Derby is five.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Pletcher expressed mild surprise in the immediate aftermath of the Lexington that Winning Cause had reached this point. A son of Giant’s Causeway, Winning Cause is now 3 for 3 over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland and winless in four races elsewhere. Pletcher said the primary reason for running in the Lexington was “he was 2-for-2 at Keeneland going into this. We know he likes the surface and thought it was worth taking a shot.”

Pletcher now has won the Lexington a record five times, all of them coming since 2005. Of his four prior Lexington winners, two have run back as longshots in the Derby: Coin Silver (12th at 38-1 in 2005) and Advice (13th at 49-1 in 2009).

Winning Cause won the 1 1/16-mile Lexington by a length over General Election, a 34-1 shot who earned 8 points toward Derby eligibility. Kellyn Gorder, who trains General Election for WinStar Farm, said the May 18 Preakness is a possibility for the colt. Pick of the Litter was third.

The disappointment in the race was the only filly in the field, Pure Fun, who was never a factor when seventh. Trainer Ken McPeek said he believed the filly needed the race and still is likely to run back in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill.

Meanwhile, Leparoux, who won the Blue Grass Stakes the previous Saturday with Java’s War, became the first jockey in 10 years to win both premier 3-year-old races at the same Keeneland spring meet. Edgar Prado, in 2003, was the last to pull such a sweep with Peace Rules in the Blue Grass and Scrimshaw in the Lexington.

Dating to the 2010 fall meet, Leparoux has been the leading jockey at Keeneland for five straight meets, but he appears destined to be a distant second to Joel Rosario, who rode four more winners on the 10-race Saturday card. The good news for Leparoux, however, is that he is by far the top jockey in mount earnings this spring. Through 12 of 16 programs, his earnings total stood at $1,356,231.

Record-breaking win for Ramseys

Ken and Sarah Ramsey broke the record they previously shared for most winners at a Keeneland meet when Scealeile won the first race Saturday, giving them their 13th win this spring. The Ramseys then won two more races, giving them 15 into Sunday action; they will continue to extend their new record with every subsequent winner through the end of the meet on Friday.

The Ramseys previously shared the record of 12 wins at a meet with Calumet Farm, which established the mark in spring 1941, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Roberts, set in fall 1968.

Meanwhile, Rosario entered Sunday action with 26 winners and stands an excellent chance to surpass the spring-meet record of 32 wins by Randy Romero, set in 1990. The all-time Keeneland record for wins at a meet is 45, set by Pat Day in the fall of 1991.

Likewise, Mike Maker, with 15 wins into Sunday, looms a threat to break the all-time record for wins at a Keeneland meet set by his former boss, D. Wayne Lukas, who won 22 races at the 1989 fall meet. The spring-meet record of 16 was set in 2005 by Pletcher.



Jerry Sabo More than 1 year ago
I agree with Greg Stevens comment on McPeek. Now he said she would run in Oaks anyway. He doesn't seem to know what he is doing from what I read and see.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Leslie Burke Fernandes More than 1 year ago
nobody cares how much you make or bet or how you do it
Maynard More than 1 year ago
I believe the tie breaker will be total earnings which would put Winning Cause ahead of several others with twenty points. Besides, the Lexington is a Stakes Race with points of 20 for the winner. It is ridiculous that the Illinois Derby got no points. They should schedule next year's Illinois Derby to coincide with the Kentucky Derby unless CD points are changed.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
It is the tie breaker which is why Cause is out and Kitten is in. Go to Road to the Derby and it will give you the list.
Gunner More than 1 year ago
So you are basically wrong about everything - is that it?
CHARMING KITTEN More than 1 year ago
well, winning cause can't run as it stands right now anyway, he doesn't have more unrestricted earnings than Charming Kitten. Moot point.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Points should be ammended to "stake winners preferred" in these instances where there is a tie to get in.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Graded Stakes winners of point races preferred sounds fair in deciding a tie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No hard feelings towards Todd,but he obviously has become the DWayne this time around.He has the quality and the quantity,but when is too much too much.?Every owner dreams of winning the derby,but let reason and common sense prevail,..please.!!
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Didn't Todd Pletcher start out by working for D. Wayne Lukas? Would not be surprised at all IF one of the top 20 bows out by the first Sat in May. 50-50 shot of getting in - less so in the actual race.
Maynard More than 1 year ago
When is too much too much? Never, the owners of each of the horses with twenty points or more which Pletcher trains have earned their right to have their horse in the Derby. Now that the horses trained by the same trainer are uncoupled in the betting, it makes absolutely no difference who trains each horse except to those who think the trainer means the difference. Pletcher has already had more losing entries than any other trainer.
Maynard More than 1 year ago
Maybe the old gray Wayne ain't what he used to be but he did not get into the Hall of Fame without having dominated racing for many years. A little respect please!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No disrespect to Todd.Just saying that the odds of him even winning the derby is not that good,even by DWayne stats.Chances are he wont win with either of his many entries.
Patrick Reid More than 1 year ago
True that.
Robert Clayton More than 1 year ago
He might run the horse because if he does that is one more horse that can't possibly win and helps the causes of his better horses
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
good point....
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Only way he draws in is with another not entering as " Jenny" has stated below. I don't see ANY of the top twenty doing that barring illness or injury. The Ramsey's are a Kentucky Derby definate I believe. Dogwood has wanted Palace Malice in any way possible. Winstar has Revolutionary. REPOLE has Overanalyze so FORGET him not running with that guys ego. Baffert was thinking of not entering Super Ninety Nine but doubt he wants to let Pletcher get another runner. Falling Sky is with Baffert buddy Terranova so he runs now. McPeek wants to run both. Derby trial wont decide anybody's fate a week out. So there's your field barring any Backdoor deals or mishaps.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I think that's it Thomas. I thought Bob would drop Dens Legacy, and would have the option to drop S99 and try anything to get Code West in. There would have been some interesting decisions and chess moves to make, but with Winning Cause leap frogging Code West it all goes out the window for now. With Pletchers horse in the 21 spot and if he gets in gives him the record number of entries, now if S99 wakes up the morning of May 4 he runs.
Maynard More than 1 year ago
I read that Den's Legacy was out and Baffert said he didn't think S99 could get the distance. That means if only one of the rest drops out, both Wining Cause AND Code West could get in.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Right now S99 is in with no decision to drop as yet. This will tell us something about how the game is played and about integrity and ethics. If one drops, then S99 drops in a heart beat and Code West gets in. If no one drops, then it's unlikely that S99 drops.
Al More than 1 year ago
I can see Baffert running one and saving the other for the Preakness.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
It's funny how these things play out at this stage. Last week, Bob probably called the owners of S99 saying he's probably not good enough except only as an early factor and we should think about not running. This morning after the Lexington, he probably called them to say how great S99 is doing, kicking down the walls, so we should run.
scott More than 1 year ago
I agree with your assessment of the field Thomas, but why the Repole ego comment? When he does something that warrants the comment fine, but Overanalyze belongs. What owner wouldn't run their healthy Remsen/Arkansas Derby winner for the roses? I don't see how ego has anything to do with it.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Maybe you have a point in this instance. I just get a little uptight about certain types.
scott More than 1 year ago
I hear ya Thomas. I enjoy reading comments from people like you and horse cents. I'll be the first one in line with you to bash Repole when he acts like a jerk. I replied because I couldn't think of the last interview I saw or article i've read on Repole. He seems to be out of the derby spotlight despite having the Remsen/Arkansas derby winner. To you and Horse Cents..... any thoughts on Overanalyze? I am not sure what to make of this horse. Like his Remsen counterpart he improved a lot in his second start of the year. The beyer wasn't impressive but his last win visually was fine. If this horse draws well, is he a factor in the derby?
m More than 1 year ago
....rate of25% ytd....its seems excessive by any means.
Gunner More than 1 year ago
Mr. Ramsey breeds a lot of horses and will drop them into claiming races with no fear of losing them as they are all easily replaceable. On occasion he will even claim them back. He plays the game well and really points to the spring Kee meet and towards Sar, as well. No need to be bitter about him being better.
m More than 1 year ago
Dutrow...Rudy....Ness...maker......etc....does anyone ever think how in the world the Ramsey's win SO often.???? It irritates me...and something stinks. I know in the history of blogging u guys all get suspicious of trainers....what about owner firing at an incredible win
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
That's laughable. When have you ever heard of Mr. or Mrs. Ramsey do anything detrimental to the class of racing? Comparing them to Ness, Dutrow, Rudy? Honestly you are Mister informed or draw your own biased conclusions. They own nice stock. They spot them in competitive races. They drop, but reasonably. It's not like they are like Mike Gill and sawing horses legs off. THE Ramsey's have wealth and enjoy racing. Others win at any cost. Horse, jockey welfare come first.Good grief. No comparison.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Actually nothing nefarious about it. Everybody has different goals.I knew a guy that trained for him. Ramsey's goal every year is to be leading owner at Churchill. Ask him and he'll tell you. He does it in sheer numbers of the right quality of horse at every level, and spreads his horses around to several trainers. He has no problem running a 5k claimer if it gets him a win. He's rather astute in that he uses a condition book as good or better than any trainer. He will acquire horses with veracity that can meet certain conditions at some point in the meet. He is very focused on winning that leading owner title.
D Lange More than 1 year ago
Ramsey smiles, struts, and parades his 5000 winning claimer just like a G1. Hard not to like.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Aways insists on leading a winner into the winners circle. Maybe you can tell if he likes a horse by the shoes he's wearing that day.
Elijah Allison More than 1 year ago
Cmon there freaking rich and buy the best horses, duhhh
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
DRF makes every effort to sensor any criticism of the stewards and the bad ruling they some times make..yesterdays Illinois derby was a good example..i know at least 10 people that tried to make their opinion of what occurred in that race posted and they all were censored by drf whats the point of having a comment feature if you only want rose glasses comments posted...the ruling in that race has been lambasted in every forum including drf the difference is here its censored. I myself have posted here and none were to be seen anywhere...maybe the persons who dish $7.00 a day for your racing form deserve better at least to know what you think of the ruling or let people comment in the comments section.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Winning cause is strictly a synthetics horse and a horse for course at keenland he was very playable and live in this race..in the derby on dirt he would be 40/1 and for me i would need 120/1 to take a chance that he would reverse is dirt form especially with his breeding and don't give me any animal kingdom analogies he is no animal k.