06/08/2011 2:42PM

Pletcher calls 2007 Belmont Stakes his most satisfying win


Entering Wednesday, trainer Todd Pletcher had won 2,833 races in his career, but there’s one victory that stands out above the rest – Rags to Riches’s head victory over Curlin in the 2007 Belmont Stakes.

“To me, it’s the most satisfying win I had,’’ Pletcher said at Wednesday’s draw for Saturday’s 143rd Belmont in which he will run 20-1 shot Stay Thirsty. “To me, it was the most exciting race I won, just the stretch-long duel. When you look back it as far as fillies go and then you look at what she did in that race and what Curlin accomplished after that, to me it was as good as a filly has ever run.’’

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Pletcher was referring to the fact that two of the more heralded female horses of all-time came along just after Rags to Riches, including Rachel Alexandra, who won the 2009 Preakness as well as the Haskell and Woodward, and Zenyatta, who won 19 of 20 races, including a victory against males in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta were voted Horse of the Year, in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Rags to Riches was owned by Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, the same people who along with Susan Magnier make-up Coolmore, the owner of Master of Hounds, the fifth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby who is back for the Belmont. Master of Hounds is trained by Aidan O’Brien.

“To me he’s a very dangerous horse,’’ Pletcher said. “He finished up well in the Derby, first time on dirt; ran a big race in the UAE Derby. I don’t think he’d be a big surprise.’’

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