05/09/2013 3:51PM

Monmouth Park: Pletcher has two in opening-day Decathlon


OCEANPORT, N.J. – It always pays to give Todd a handicapping nod in a Monmouth Park stakes.

That certainly applies to $75,000 Decathlon Stakes on Saturday, the feature event on the 12-race opening day card. First post will be 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

Todd Pletcher entered a pair in the six-furlong Decathlon: Travelin Man and Soaring Stocks.

Pletcher’s record in Monmouth stakes the past four seasons is outstanding. He captured five stakes in 2009 to share the top spot at the meet with Larry Jones and John Forbes.

Since then, it’s been all Pletcher. He set the pace in each of the last three meets, winning 8 stakes every season. He was 8 for 31 last year, including Turbo Compressor’s victory in the Grade 1 United Nations.

It would not be a shock if Pletcher gets the early jump on opening day.

Joe Bravo, a 13-time riding champion at Monmouth, will be aboard Travelin Man, who rang up a gaudy 102 Beyer Speed Figure in his repeat victory in Gulfstream’s Sir Shackleton Stakes.

The 5-year-old ran twice here last summer, including a nose loss in the Teddy Drone Stakes on the Haskell Day undercard.

Soaring Stocks ran third in last year’s Decathlon and later returned to finish seventh as part of an entry with Travelin Man in the Teddy Drone. He has won here before, picking up his maiden victory by six decisive lengths in the summer of 2011.

The two Pletcher entrants, both owned by E. Paul Robsham, are uncoupled in the Decathlon wagering.

Saginaw, the New York-bred win machine, is the other prominent entrant in the field. The 7-year-old gelding, 12 for 16 the last two seasons, has been cross-entered in a starter allowance on Sunday at Belmont Park, however, and is expected to run there.

Broad Rule, Luckysdream, and Raging Daoust each won his last outing.

Raging Daoust, a perfect 4 for 4 at Monmouth, was a $10,000 claim here last summer that certainly panned out.

“We’ve gotten very lucky with him,” said trainer Buddy Carlesimo. “He’s a very talented horse that has been very good to us.”

Pass You Bye Bye and Diski Dance complete the field.