03/18/2010 11:00PM

Pletcher has pair for Lane's End


And you thought Todd Pletcher only had six horses that might run in the Kentucky Derby. Well, the list of hopefuls goes a little deeper than the 20 named on the latest Derby Watch in Daily Racing Form, where Pletcher accounts for 30 percent of that total with Eskendereya, Rule, Super Saver, Discreetly Mine, Aikenite, and Interactif.

Yet another Pletcher colt who could run himself straight into the 136th Derby on May 1 is Connemara, who looks like a solid favorite for the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End Stakes, the annual showcase race at Turfway. The Lane's End will be run next Saturday over Polytrack at the Florence, Ky., track.

Connemara, owned by a partnership led by Michael Tabor, has never raced on anything but a synthetic surface and has not been prominently mentioned among the top Derby contenders, by Pletcher or anyone else. Nonetheless, Connemara will become instantly eligible to make the 20-horse Derby cut if he wins the 1 1/8-mile Lane's End, since the $300,000 in graded earnings for winning surely will grant such entry.

Connemara has raced four times, winning three, most recently the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 20 at Golden Gate, earning $90,000. He is expected to ship from his Southern California base to be among a sizable field of 3-year-olds being forecast for the Lane's End.

Pletcher also has told Turfway officials he intends to run Doubles Partner in the Lane's End. Doubles Partner, currently based in south Florida, will be making his stakes debut after winning a Gulfstream Park turf allowance in his lone start this year.

Besides the Pletcher pair, other top Lane's End prospects include Kettle River, another Southern California colt who was eighth in the Sham Stakes earlier this month, and the Dale Romans duo of Quiet All American and Vow to Wager. Other probables are Best Actor, Dean's Kitten, Fearless Cowboy, Noah's Dream, Northern Giant, and Outlaw Man. Entries will be drawn Thursday.

Pletcher won the Lane's End in 2001 with Balto Star and in 2005 with Flower Alley. Both were unplaced in the Derby.

The USA cable network will have television coverage of the Lane's End.