05/05/2014 3:40PM

Pletcher regroups after Derby foursome disappoints

Barbara D. Livingston
Danza, finishing third in the Kentucky Derby, is the lone member of trainer Todd Pletcher's Derby foursome who might run in the Preakness Stakes on May 17.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Win or lose last Saturday, trainer Todd Pletcher had to leave Churchill Downs quickly after the Kentucky Derby to make it back home in time for a family function Sunday.

His son Payton’s confirmation probably was a good diversion for Pletcher the day after what was a disappointing Derby Day for the six-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer.

Though Danza ran a respectable third in Saturday’s 140th Kentucky Derby, Pletcher’s other three runners – We Miss Artie, Intense Holiday, and Vinceremos – finished 10th, 12th, and 17th behind California Chrome.

The results leave Pletcher with a record of one win, two seconds, and three thirds from 40 starters in 14 Kentucky Derbies.

“It’s disappointing anytime you don’t win,” Pletcher, who won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver, said Monday at Belmont. “We had two horses” he said, referring to Danza and Intense Holiday, “we thought had big chances going in. One ran very well to finish third, the other didn’t finish as good as we hoped.”

All four horses were headed in different directions for the time being. Danza was due to arrive at Pletcher’s Belmont Park barn Monday, and his condition will be evaluated, with the Preakness a slight possibility.

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Both Pletcher and Aron Wellman, whose Eclipse Thoroughbreds owns Danza, agreed to wait a few days before making any final decision on Danza’s next race. Danza had two stout races in three weeks – he won the Arkansas Derby on April 12 – and took a pretty hard bump from stablemate Vinceremos early in the Kentucky Derby that nearly pushed him into the rail.

“He almost bumped off the rail coming by the stands the first time, and it compromised his position at that point,” Pletcher said. “He had to alter course in the stretch and kept trying to the wire; thought he ran well.”

Though Pletcher doesn’t typically run back in the Preakness with horses coming out of the Derby, he said, “Nothing’s etched in stone one way or the other” regarding Danza.

We Miss Artie was shipped to Saratoga on Monday and, as a Canadian-bred, will be pointed to the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine on July 6. Pletcher said he has not decided when, or if, We Miss Artie would race before then.

Regarding the Derby, he said he instructed jockey Javier Castellano to take We Miss Artie off the pace and make a run, and that’s what he did.

“Javier said it took him a little while to get him settled,” Pletcher said.

Intense Holiday probably was the biggest disappointment based on how well he trained. Under John Velazquez, he was in fifth and a bit wide to a fairly modest pace before flattening out at the eighth pole.

Pletcher said Intense Holiday would be sent to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital for a physical this week, and that would determine when he would return to Pletcher in New York.

Pletcher said Vinceremos, who previously finished last in the Blue Grass Stakes, would get 30 days of rest at WinStar Farm in Lexington, Ky.

Last Friday, Pletcher ran second in the Kentucky Oaks with My Miss Sophia. In the last three years, Pletcher has a win, two seconds, and a third in the Oaks. He said My Miss Sophia is a candidate for the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont on June 7.

Daisy1Oopsy . More than 1 year ago
Good grief, i am just now reading the posts of others. I read an article then post immediately before my thoughts are corrupted by negativity. I did not know DRF wrote this article to be a spring board to diss Todd Pletcher, my fellow hometown schooled Texas raised native. Because he is, the bar i set mentally is very high and oft times i have been critical of him. But i don't think he really deserves the blistering he gets in some of the comments. I don't bet good folks, so the picture printed in my mind comes from an entirely different angle. I love the horses, period and i know from experience they are not pre programmed machines.
Daisy1Oopsy . More than 1 year ago
Danza was bumped, really looked to me like slammed, then bounced off the rail trying to recover. With that scenario knocking off valuable time, this poster feels Danza did himself proud to make it to placing third. I still like him. Was going to try and re run the video of the KD, i wanted to see which horses bumped Danza, with this article, and thank you, i read that Vinceremos Danza's stable mate bumped him. So i guess that makes me feel better rather than another horse not in his stable. I noticed no objections by Pletcher against Vinceremos, didn't matter because V came in 17th. You see to me that is incorrect stewardship. Danza darn near lost his footing. It would have been interesting if Vinceremos had placed 1, 2 or 3 and Danza zip. BTW i have always liked Vinceremos. Danza i have posted about and i do admire him. Am i wrong to feel this way? Please someone advise. A serious bump/slam is wrong, ask Rosie!
Brodieville More than 1 year ago
Danza should wait for the Belmont, where as a closer, if he likes the distance, he could make some noise... the Preakness is too soon, unless this trainer has success at running horses, what- 3 times in 2 months!!??
JDLBets More than 1 year ago
He's a nice horse and could make some noise in the Belmont and this summer, but he's not a closer. Which is fine because closers don't usually win the Belmont anyway.
gallopingtom More than 1 year ago
Why is anyone shocked by Pletcher derby record? He consistently enter horses suited to one mile in a 1 1/4 mile race. That's is in a nutshell. I though Danza ran a nice race.
Ann More than 1 year ago
He doesn't get the conditioning part of getting a horse ready for a 10f race. He does the same thing every time the same way he always trains and that is good enough for miler-type races. Even those with some stamina in their background frequently aren't fit enough for the challenge. Now California Chrome, that is a fit horse.
Jeff Wright More than 1 year ago
No need for people on here to be knocking TAP.. his horses don't get a mile and quater very well so what, they win a heck of a lot of races, on all surfaces, at the highest level. Obviously a first class outfit. enough said
Flipper More than 1 year ago
I like that way it is. Let Pletcher and Maker enter 5 horses every year. Their horses are automatic throw out in the derby. You only have to handicap 10 horses.That is why I hit it every year. Wish they both enter 8 horses every year, that means I only have to handicap 4 horses. I may not need racing form to figure out the winner,tri and superfecta.
Jimmy Metzger More than 1 year ago
You know Danza ran third, right? As did Revolutionary, last year. Sorry about your luck.
Diana Leeson More than 1 year ago
What's your point? Third doesn't count for that bigheaded bozo.
Diana Leeson More than 1 year ago
I love your comments and how you decide on whom to bet in the Derby. Makes sense now that I think about it.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Pletcher should have the "regrouping after his derby disappointment" thing pretty well memorized by now, considering how abysmal his horses have run in the Kentucky Derby over the last 10 years or so....
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I for one would run Danza. If anyone cared to notice..Victor took CC back behind hirses entering first turn n the colt threw his head up when hit with dirt. He then quickly moved him outside and the rest was easy. No speed horse went to press him except Samraat. Which cost him to tire n run 5th. Had A Rod or Wildcat Red shown their speed we may have seen CC back up further as he did in first turn. Now their is MORE speed heading to Preakness. Run Danza. Good luck.
kwtalk More than 1 year ago
I don't think it was the dirt. I think CC wanted to get on with it. Even in his easy works, it was obvious he wanted to run.
apajax6 More than 1 year ago
Anybody ever stop to think that maybe instead of bashing him on where the horses finish, we should take the time to be impressed he consistently manages to get horses qualified for the race? Some trainers can only dream of having a starter.
Mitch McMahon More than 1 year ago
As a handicapper and a horsemen, I could not be relieved to see Pletcher's name beside a horse. You know he enters a healthy horse to win 99.9% of the time. (And if the Ramsey's want to force his hand, at least a healthy horse.)
Brian Wolniewicz More than 1 year ago
well when u r afforded 100s of 2 year olds every spring i am sure u can get a couple in every year. i have always considered baffert, motion, maker real horsemen and pletcher and assmusen great businessmen deguised as horsemen.
cappelletti63 More than 1 year ago
Personally I think they should cut the field to 12.Trainers would only be able to enter their best horse. Meaning 1 horse per trainer. Makes it a lot safer. If you have to hog up all the track with 4 horses and still can't win. I think that my idea will go over with the handicappers. Let's face it their the ones who are keeping the tracks open....
Bob More than 1 year ago
I couldn't agree more!
Surasak More than 1 year ago
Yeap, 12 horses is plenty enough, less garbage that don't belong in the Derby.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Derby should be a 14 horse field max like every other TC race and every other major race including the BC has. And the Derby point thing is still a horrible process.