08/09/2012 3:18PM

Saratoga: Pletcher has chance to sweep Sunday 2-year-old stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Stablemates Shanghai Bobby (right) and Drum Roll work five furlongs on Aug. 6. They are both entered in Sunday's Grade 2 Saratoga Special.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – For as well as things have gone for trainer Todd Pletcher here this summer, he will enter the second half of the Saratoga season without a graded stakes victory, having gone winless with 12 starters in eight graded events.

But he will have an excellent chance to start the second half of the meet with two graded stakes wins when he sends out top contenders in Sunday’s pair of Grade 2, $200,000 stakes, the Saratoga Special and Adirondack, for 2-year-olds. Both races will be shown live on the NBC Sports Network in a one-hour program beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Of Pletcher’s meet-leading 18 victories through Thursday, 12 have come with his 2-year-olds. In the Saratoga Special, for 2-year-old males, Pletcher will send out the uncoupled entry of Shanghai Bobby and Drum Roll. In the Adirondack, for 2-year-old fillies, he will send out Kauai Katie, who figures to be a prohibitive favorite against five rivals.

Shanghai Bobby, a son of Harlan’s Holiday, won his debut at Aqueduct in April and then the Track Barron Stakes at Belmont on June  27. He was kept out of the Sanford Stakes here on July 24 because the same owners, Jack Wolf and Don Lucarelli’s Starlight Stables, had Rose Junction for that spot.

“He was one of the first 2-year-olds to come to us at Palm Meadows,” Pletcher said. “He trained well every step along the way. He was a little bit curious when we were at Palm Meadows so we decided to put blinkers on him and it seemed to make a big difference. Then he’s become more professional as we’ve gone along.”

Shanghai Bobby will break from post 6 in the seven-horse field under Rose Napravnik.

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Drum Roll, a son of Majestic Warrior, broke slowly from the rail in his debut, but recovered quickly enough to record a 2 3/4-length victory in a July 8 maiden win at Monmouth Park.

“He didn’t break nearly as well as he broke for us in the mornings prior to that,” Pletcher said.

John Velazquez will ride Drum Roll from the outside post.

The Special drew a field of seven, including Spurious Precision, a visually impressive debut winner here on July 21, and Southern Honor, who set a Parx track record for 4 1/2 furlongs on July 4. In Harm’s Way, He’s So Fine, and Dan the Tin Man complete the field.

The Special will go as the final race on an 11-race program.

The 10th will be the Adirondack in which Kauai Katie figures to be heavily favored based on her 12-length maiden win here on opening day. She ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.66 and earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest figure earned by any 2-year-old – male or female – this year.

Kauai Katie is running back in 23 days, which is a little quicker than Pletcher would normally run a horse back given how fast she ran.

“She’s given us every indication that she’s bounced out of the race well,” Pletcher said. “Sometimes with young horses you can bring them back quickly. Last year we brought Georgie’s Angel back on similar rest and won the Schuylerville.”

Salamera, who won both her starts at Calder, including the J J’sdream, and Cayllano, who is 2 for 2, including a stakes victory at Delaware Park, top the challengers. Vitameta, Fully Living, and Sweet Shirley Mae complete the field.