09/17/2006 11:00PM

Pletcher to have California string


Having dominated racing on the East Coast for the last several years, two-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher will try to make an impact on the West Coast this fall and winter.

Pletcher confirmed Monday that he will be sending a string of horses to Southern California beginning with the opening of the Hollywood Park meet, which begins Nov. 1. Pletcher will keep horses stabled at Hollywood Park through at least the winter/spring meet at Santa Anita.

Pletcher, who has more than 150 horses in training, said it is still unclear how many horses he will be sending to California, but it will likely be between 20 and 40.

"Depends how many owners are interested," he said.

Pletcher said the main reason for opening up a division in California is the state's decision to implement a synthetic surface at its three racetracks. Hollywood Park's fall meet will be the first to utilize such a surface.

"The main reason is Polytrack is out there," Pletcher said. "We thought about going out there before, but one of the concerns was always how safe the surfaces are out there. Obviously, the purses are good. Mr [Michael] Tabor wants his horses training on Polytrack when possible."

Tabor is one of Pletcher's major clients, owning such horses as multiple stakes winning 2-year-old Circular Quay, Delaware Oaks winner Adieu, and The Green Monkey, the $16 million 2-year-old-in-training purchase who has yet to debut. Pletcher said The Green Monkey "probably" will train in California this winter.

Pletcher said the California division will be run by Michael McCarthy, who oversees Pletcher's Churchill Downs division.