05/04/2013 7:07PM

Kentucky Derby: Pletcher's Saturday turns into a washout

Barbara D. Livingston
Todd Pletcher walks with his horses before the Kentucky Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It literally rained on trainer Todd Pletcher’s Kentucky Derby parade.

After a week where everything went swimmingly for the five-time Eclipse Award winning trainer, Pletcher’s quintet of Derby contenders floundered in the slop at Churchill Downs in the 139th Run for the Roses. The best Pletcher could do was a third-place finish with Revolutionary, the 6-1 second choice.

Pletcher’s remaining four horses were well back - Charming Kitten (ninth), Overanalyze (11th), Palace Malice (12th) and Verrazano (14th) - leaving Pletcher 1 for 36 through 13 runnings in the Kentucky Derby.

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“I felt like we had a really great week, everything was going well. You win the Derby Trial, you win the [Kentucky] Oaks, you think everything you kind of laid out has gone according to plan,” said Pletcher, who won Friday’s Oaks with Princess of Sylmar. “It rains all day and it kind of changes everything.”

Pletcher, as has become his custom, watched the Derby in the horsemen’s lounge adjacent to the Churchill paddock. He got a little bit excited when Calvin Borel found a seam in upper stretch, but the colt couldn’t sustain his bid and was beaten 3 1/2 lengths.

“I thought for a second we were going to make a run,” Pletcher said. “He got shuffled back, looked like he had to work his way through a few times, but he was still coming at the end.”

Borel, who was riding Revolutionary for the first time, said the horse was “jumping up and down” early on, but he didn’t mind being 18th because of the fast early fractions.

“I was very satisfied where I was,” Borel said.

“The only thing I wish around the far turn I could have crept up a little bit closer. But I couldn’t get there. Turning for home, when I got through, I still thought I’d get to them. He gave me a turn of foot but it wasn’t very much - about a sixteenth of a mile.”

Verrazano, the undefeated winner of the Wood Memorial, raced up close to the fast pace, but jockey John Velazquez said he knew he was in trouble early.

“We had a good trip, I just don’t think he liked the track,” Velazquez said. “He was already in trouble into the first turn trying to get a grip of the track.”

Palace Malice, with blinkers on for the first time, showed uncharacteristic early speed, running six furlongs in 1:09.80 - equaling the fourth-fastest clocking for that distance and the same as last year - before fading in the stretch.

Pletcher said he and jockey Mike Smith had discussed it and thought their position would be “mid-division just behind the speed.”

“He caught a flyer and he was gone. He just went with it.”

Smith said, “Even when he made the lead he still wanted to run off. I was like, ‘C’mon man.’ You hate to fight too, too much, but it was certainly too quick.”

Charming Kitten, a 33-1 longshot, didn’t do much running, nor did Overanalyze, who was sent off at 16-1.