08/18/2013 12:57PM

Saratoga: Palace Malice, Verrazano put in final works for Travers

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Barbara D. Livingston
Palace Malice, the winner of the Belmont and Jim Dandy stakes, breezed a half-mile in 48.30 seconds at Saratoga on Sunday.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Following Princess of Sylmar’s victory in Saturday’s Alabama Stakes, trainer Todd Pletcher has won 11 stakes, including three Grade 1 scores, from his 27 winners at the 2013 Saratoga meet.

And the best may be yet to come.

On Sunday, Pletcher’s two candidates for this Saturday’s $1 million Travers Stakes put in their final workouts over Saratoga’s main track, leaving Pletcher very much looking forward to the meeting of his two superstar 3-year-olds in the meet’s marquee event.

“I’m as interested to see it as everyone else,” Pletcher said. “They’re two horses that are doing unbelievably well coming off really good races. It’s going to be interesting.”

Palace Malice, the Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy Stakes winner, worked four furlongs by himself in 48.30 seconds under exercise rider Jake Nelson. He went his first quarter in 24.77 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.08, six furlongs in 1:14.87, and pulled up seven furlongs in 1:29.79.

“I thought he was very good,” Pletcher said. “He was going very well, well within himself. It was pretty much what we’ve come to expect from him every time we breeze him.”

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A few minutes later, Verrazano, the Haskell and Wood Memorial winner, worked four furlongs in 48.86 seconds in company with fellow 3-year-old Capo Bastone. With John Velazquez aboard, Verrazano went his first quarter in 23.96 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.29, six furlongs in 1:14.73, and pulled up seven furlongs in 1:28.82.

“I thought it was very good,” Pletcher said. “We flip-flopped their gallop-outs from last week. As far as time-wise, Palace Malice last week was a little bit stronger, so we wanted to do a little bit more with Verrazano on the gallop-out, and I think we got what we’re looking for.”

Palace Malice and Verrazano figure to vie for favoritism in the Travers along with perhaps Orb, the Kentucky Derby winner, who in the Travers will be making his first start since his third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes. Orb, who has spent about two months at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, is due to breeze Monday morning over the Oklahoma training track.

A field of nine is expected for the Travers when entries are made and post positions assigned Wednesday. The expected field, with riders, is: Golden Soul (Robby Albarado), Moreno (Jose Ortiz), Orb (Joel Rosario), Palace Malice (Mike Smith), Romansh (Javier Castellano), Transparent (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Verrazano (Velazquez), War Dancer (Alan Garcia), and Will Take Charge (Junior Alvarado).

Several other Pletcher horses targeting Grade 1 stakes at this meet worked Sunday. Whitney Invitational winner Cross Traffic worked four furlongs in 48.17 seconds in company with Forty Tales, who started slightly behind Cross Traffic and finished on even terms. Forty Tales is credited with a time of 47.97 for the distance.

Pletcher said that based on the work, he is more inclined to run Cross Traffic in the Woodard on Aug. 31 than to wait for the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Sept. 28.

“He’s been showing us pretty good energy here since the Whitney, and I actually feel he’s training even better coming out of it than he was going into it, so we’re just trying to make sure the Woodward is the right spot,” Pletcher said. “Certainly, the way he worked this morning indicated he’s come out of the Whitney in good shape.”

Forty Tales, who has won the Woody Stephens and Amsterdam in his last two starts, is targeting Saturday’s Grade 1 King’s Bishop.

“I thought it was an exceptional work for Forty Tales, who’s not generally a really good work horse,” Pletcher said. “Today, I thought he was very good.”

Shanghai Bobby, last year’s juvenile champion, and Graydar, this year’s Grade 1 Donn Handicap winner, both coming back from lengthy layoffs, worked a half-mile in company in 49.13 seconds.

Robert More than 1 year ago
pletcher , pletcher ...COME AND CACHER....ITS LIKE HAVING AN UPSCALE HORSE WALMARTS IN UR BACKYARD..I LL HAVE 1 OF THESE....2 OF THOSE AND I PENNSYLVANIA BRED .....HOLD THE PLUGS PLEASE..............THANKS ...SIR S AND ALL MY OTHER WALLETS.....
Ronald Dodgen More than 1 year ago
Verranzano will destroy these he was hardly breathing after his 116 Beyer. Everybody thinks he's a miler well that last race was 9 furlongs folks plus in his previous race he ran his last 2 1/2 furlongs in 29 flat. He will win the Breeder's Cup Classic unless it rains book it Dano!!!
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Jim Dandy winner Palace Malice no doubt has edge in the Travers IMO , having a race over the SARATOGA surface should and will have the advantage. Verrazanno, with Oxbow out should get a breather for the first 3/4"s but both Pletcher runners do not win this years Summer Classic. Both take a back seat and watch The Kentucky Derby winner ORB blow by them all late and deep stretch and pricks his ears at the wire. Derby winner will be a generous price I would say , 5/1 or so. This information boys and girls is free of charge.
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
I doubt it. Moreno and Verazanno early with Palace Malice sitting in the catbird seat waiting to pounce. Should end up the same way the Jim Dandy finished.
Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
I can't wait to see this race. I think Palace Malice is a cut above Verrazano and Orb at this time. If Verrazano runs like he did last time, and the weather is good, the track record could be in danger.
Tee Jay More than 1 year ago
Orb already won the only race he'll ever win. He doesn't have a killer instinct in him. He's a glider. He takes what they give him in the stretch. Passing tiring rivals isn't a good way to make a stud horse happen. Palace Malice will be on top all the way around. Pletcher worked him alone and Verrazano needed a good horse to partner with him to keep him intereseted. So Palace Malice gets my kid's shoe money...
Greg Biddle More than 1 year ago
Poor kid has to go shoeless because of ORB.
3 Cats More than 1 year ago
I wish, I wish, I could be at Saratoga this weekend to watch the Travers Stakes. If there are any genies in a bottle out there that care to throw an extra wish my way, I would be eternally grateful. :)
Mark Sheehey More than 1 year ago
A few years ago a man by the name of Mike Gill claimed an unbelievable amount of horses at many tracks.It scared the crap out of many big time trainers who did the same thing to smaller owners..These trainers were scared to enter horses for fear they would lose them..and they did. Then they ran Mike out of the business..Well Todd Pletcher is doing the same thing but in a different way..A horse in almost every Stakes race sometines Two,Three Five..How many deserving trainers have lost out on the opportunity to train some of these?..Greed is Good?
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
Good luck beating Verrazano.
Thomas Nicholson More than 1 year ago
ORB just worked 4F in 47:68 on the Oklahoma training track. for his final work out before the 2013 Travers. Looks like he might be ready to rumble.
Thomas Nicholson More than 1 year ago
76 Degrees and sunny! I don't want to jinx it but wow! Thats the weather forecast for Traver's day at the SPA". 50,000 people looking to party. I like ORB and I think that Shugs turf horse not showing up (maybe a BAD RIDE, or should I say strange ride) for the Sword Dancer will greatly increase ORB's odds. I will take all the coupons that I would normally bet on a what 12 or 14 race card and bet it all on ORB to win. Sit back and watch the beautiful show case that is Saratoga go by. I might have to take n excederin PM to get to sleep the night before. It's like a 10 year old kid before Christmass and I'm 58.