05/19/2013 8:55AM

Preakness Stakes: Plesa pleased with Itsmyluckyday's performance

Tom Keyser
Itsmyluckyday and jockey John Velazquez after finishing second in the Preakness at Pimlico on Saturday.

BALTIMORE – Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. expressed satisfaction Sunday morning that his 3-year-old Itsmyluckyday bounced back from his 15th-place non-effort in the Kentucky Derby with a solid second-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes.

Plesa said that while he wasn’t seeking validation for himself, he hoped Saturday’s performance would quiet those who were critical of Itsmyluckyday after his disappointing race in the Derby, which was run over a sloppy Churchill Downs track.

“I’m glad for him,” Plesa said. “He didn’t deserve all the criticism that he got, but that’s life.”

Itsmyluckyday entered the Kentucky Derby highly regarded, coming off wins in the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull Stakes as well as a second-place finish to Orb in the Florida Derby following a nine-week layoff.

But in the Kentucky Derby, Itsmyluckyday just spun his wheels over the off going and was beaten 22 1/4 lengths by Orb.

Plesa said the Belmont Stakes on June 8 is under consideration for Itsmyluckday, “but it’s not high on the priority list.”

[PREAKNESS STAKES: Race replays and reactions from Pimlico]

The $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 28 is high on Plesa’s priority list because that’s where the colt spent last summer – winning first out – and that’s where he shipped back to Sunday morning. If Plesa elects to skip the Belmont, he would have to decide whether to prep for the Haskell in either the Grade 3, $150,000 Pegasus on June 16 or the $100,000 Long Branch on July 7. He also could simply train Itsmyluckyday up to the Haskell.

However, given how well Plesa said Itsmyluckyday came out of the Preakness, he may be hard-pressed to wait until July 28 to run him.

“He couldn’t have come out of the race any better,” Plesa said. “It’s all you can do to walk him around the shed. He’s just dragging you. He’s dragging us like he was dragging us before the race, and he ate up everything, didn’t leave one iota of his dinner last night, which is a great sign.”

If he skips the Belmont and runs in the Haskell, Itsmyluckyday probably won’t meet either the Derby winner, Orb, or the Preakness winner, Oxbow, until possibly the Travers at Saratoga in August.

“I’m not looking to get revenge or anything like that,” Plesa said. “I’m just trying to look for the best race possible for him that will enhance his value later on. I certainly would like to win a Grade 1 with him, so hopefully we will.”