05/14/2014 1:01PM

Pletcher reserves Revolutionary, Golden Lad head Pimlico Special

Tom Keyser
Revolutionary, along with Golden Lad, will run in the Pimlico Special for Todd Pletcher's barn Friday at Pimlico.

BALTIMORE – Todd Pletcher won’t be sending out the best older horse in his barn in Friday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Pimlico Special, but his reserves in the division certainly are capable of giving the six-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer his first victory in this race.

While Palace Malice will be neatly tucked away in his Belmont Park stall Friday – awaiting the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on June 7 – Pletcher will send out the uncoupled entry of Revolutionary and Golden Lad in the 44th renewal of the 1 3/16-mile race. The Pimlico Special is one of seven stakes on a 13-race card at Pimlico. The Pimlico Special is the first leg of daily double with Saturday’s Preakness Stakes and a pick three with Saturday’s Dixie Stakes and Preakness.

Revolutionary, third in last year’s Kentucky Derby, has had a roller coaster campaign in 2014. He won an allowance race at Gulfstream in January, finished seventh in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap in February, and was second in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in April. In Oaklawn, Revolutionary was bothered midstretch by the winner, Will Take Charge, but after a lengthy inquiry, the result stood. Golden Lad also was forced to steady as a result of Will Take Charge veering in and finished fifth.

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“I think you can certainly make a case that [Revolutionary] was bothered and make more of a case that Golden Lad was eliminated from having any chance of a placement,” Pletcher said. “At the end of the day, the other horse crossed the wire first, and I’m fine with that result. I thought Revolutionary ran well enough to win.”

Golden Lad did not run well enough to win the Oaklawn Handicap, but he ran well in winning the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap the time before – part of a four-race win streak. The Razorback was run over a sealed wet-fast track. If the forecast for rain Friday is correct, conditions could be similar.

“They got a pretty good rainfall an hour before the Razorback, the track was floated, and he seemed to relish it,” Pletcher said. “[Jockey] Gary [Stevens] said he didn’t feel he handled it the day of the Oaklawn Handicap. Apparently it was more dry and cuppy that day.”

Jose Lezcano, who is 3 for 3 on Golden Lad, will be back aboard the 124-pound highweight and break from post 4. Mike Smith will ride Revolutionary from post 6. Revolutionary has a third in the Kentucky Derby and a win over wet tracks.

Moreno was scheduled to run April 12 in the Oaklawn Handicap but scratched after developing a fever upon arrival from Southern California. He wound up running a week later in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic, finishing third.

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“I think if the kid doesn’t take him back after committing him, he would have won,” Moreno trainer Eric Guillot said, referring to jockey Joel Rosario’s ride at Charles Town. “He thought it was too hot of a pace. He only got beat three lengths for the whole thing, and he’s better now. That was after a fiasco of a week.”

Rosario will ride Moreno from post 3.

Cat Burglar, a son of Unbridled’s Song, makes his stakes debut in the Pimlico Special after allowance wins this year at Santa Anita in February and April. He has been based at Churchill Downs since mid-April.

“We’re taking a big step there, but he’s a big, strong horse,” trainer Bob Baffert said by phone Wednesday from California. “I could have waited for a three-other-than, but I want to give him a shot and see if he can step up. At Churchill, he didn’t train as well as he did here, but we’ll see.”

Though Cat Burglar has no experience over a wet track, Baffert is hoping that any rain that may fall will help to tighten up the Pimlico main track.

“That track can get loose and cuppy,” Baffert said.

Valid, a 4-year-old gelding by Medaglia d’Oro, freaked in the slop last November, winning a first-level allowance race by 23 1/4 lengths.

Completing the field are Carve and Prayer for Relief, third and fourth, respectively in the Oaklawn Handicap; Bourbon Courage, third in the Texas Mile; and the Korean-bred Major Kling.