09/25/2010 1:56PM

Pletcher's Breeders' Cup hopefuls get to work

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Todd Pletcher is pointing Uncle Mo to the Grade 1 Champagne on Oct. 9 at Belmont Park, but he already is preparing the 2-year-old for a possible start in the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

ELMONT, N.Y. – The Breeders’ Cup World Championships are still six weeks away, but trainer Todd Pletcher certainly had that series of multi-million dollar races on his mind Saturday morning when putting several of his prospects through workouts at Belmont Park.

Pletcher worked a plethora of his prospective Breeders’ Cup starters, but when working his impressive debut winner Uncle Mo five furlongs in company with two other juveniles, it was with the idea of him having ready to face a large field in the BC Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6.

In a five-furlong move completed in 59.87 seconds over the main track, Uncle Mo started the work three lengths behind stablemates Cheyann Belief and Mr. Gold Mover, taking a considerable amount of dirt in his face. John Velazquez guided Uncle Mo to the outside of his stablemates turning into the stretch, and Uncle Mo got his final quarter in 23.69, finishing a neck in front of his workmates and galloping out far in front.

Uncle Mo, who won his debut by 14 1/4 lengths on Aug. 28, is targeting the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 9. But Pletcher admitted that he was thinking further down the road with this work.

“Not so much thinking about the Champagne, but if we’re fortunate to go into the Breeders’ Cup I would anticipate having a big field there,” Pletcher said. “He’s never had any dirt in his face, he didn’t have any dirt in his face in his first race, so I kind of wanted to make sure he didn’t get caught by surprise.”

Prior to Uncle Mo working, Pletcher sent out Grade 1 winners Devil May Care and Life At Ten in company for a five-furlong workout. Devil May Care, who was on the inside, started slightly in front of Life At Ten. The two joined together at the three-furlong pole and basically finished on even terms. Life At Ten, under Patti Barry, galloped out a strong six furlongs in 1:12.17.

Pletcher has not decided if Life At Ten or Devil May Care would run again before the Breeders’ Cup. If Life At Ten does run again, it would most likely be in Saturday’s Beldame. Pletcher said Devil May Care also could run in the Beldame or ship to Parx Racing for the $750,000 Cotillion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, also Saturday.

Quality Road, Pletcher’s Breeders’ Cup Classic hopeful, worked four furlongs in 49.47 seconds Saturday over the training track. It was Quality Road’s first breeze since he won the Woodward at Saratoga on Sept. 4 and the first of six breezes he will have between now and the Classic. Under Barry, Quality Road went his first quarter in 24.86 and his second quarter in 24.61. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.95.

“It was what I expected from him, basically a maintenance half-mile,” Pletcher said. “We have five more breezes to go, so I think we’re right on schedule. We successfully trained him with time between races before, so we have an idea of what he needs.”

Quality Road is one of several horses Pletcher is training up to the Breeders’ Cup off an extended layoff. Discreetly Mine, winner of the King’s Bishop on Aug. 28 and a candidate for the Sprint, worked four furlongs in 50.12. Malibu Prayer, winner of the Grade 1 Ruffian at Saratoga on Aug. 1 and runner-up in the Molly Pitcher, worked four furlongs in 48.83.

Other Pletcher horses that worked Saturday included Hopeful runner-up Stay Thirsty, who went four furlongs in 50.73, and Driven by Success, who worked four furlongs in 48.51. Stay Thirsty is possible for the Champagne, while Driven by Success is likely to run in the Vosburgh.

Red Desire works for Flower Bowl

Japanese Grade 1 winner Red Desire, prepping for next Saturday’s Grade 1 Flower Bowl at 1 1/4 miles on turf, worked an easy five furlongs in 1:04.97 on Saturday morning over Belmont’s main track.

With Rajiv Maragh in the irons, Red Desire was timed in fractions of 27.20, 39.80, and she galloped out six furlongs in 1:18.40.

“She breezed nicely,” said Nobutaka Tada, the racing manager for Tokyo Horseracing Co. Inc. “Rajiv Maragh was very pleased with her.”

Tada said that Red Desire would have another light breeze Wednesday. Though Maragh was aboard for the work, Tada said Kent Desormeaux is expected to ride.

◗ At Saratoga, Fly Down worked a half-mile in 46.45 over the Oklahoma training track in preparation for Saturday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup. Stablemate Latigo Shore, prepping for the Vosburgh, was timed in 46.50 for the same distance. Both horses went separately under exercise rider Maxine Correa.