08/22/2013 2:47PM

Saratoga: Pletcher's trio for King's Bishop all have a shot


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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – It almost doesn’t seem fair. Not only does trainer Todd Pletcher have the favorite for Saturday’s $500,000 King’s Bishop at Saratoga in the red-hot Forty Tales, he also has entered two other potential win candidates, Capo Bastone and Overanalyze, for the Grade 1 fixture to be decided at seven furlongs as a lead-in to the afternoon’s main event, the Travers.

Pletcher’s trio helped swell the field for the King’s Bishop to 14 3-year olds. The size of the starting lineup has surprised most everyone, including Pletcher.

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“I was expecting 10 or 11 even with our three, so it’s a few more than I anticipated,” Pletcher said. “I have three horses in there, who I imagine, would have similar running styles in this type of race. And I imagine all three will benefit from a very hot pace. But with a field that size, you’ll still have to get lucky with a trip.”

Forty Tales will enter the gate the solid favorite off three straight graded stakes victories that includes the Grade 2 Amsterdam here July 28. A son of Tale of the Cat, Forty Tales also won the one-mile, Grade 3 Derby Trial and Belmont’s Grade 2 Woody Stephens during his current skein. The late-running Forty Tales has captured 5 of 7 career starts overall, his only poor performance coming last winter in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 3 Swale.

[TRAVERS STAKES: Get PPs, watch video updates from Saratoga]

Forty Tales will break from post 2 in the big field, which would not have been Pletcher’s first choice.

“No, it’s not where I’d have preferred to have been but with a horse like him, he’s going to drop back, so I think it’s a little bit easier from an inside post if you don’t have speed than if you really have to protect your position,” Pletcher said. “Joel [Rosario] knows him well. He’s gotten along with him well all three times he’s ridden him, so we’re not looking to change any strategy. There’s a lot of speed in there, so it’s the kind of race that could set up for a closer.”

Overanalyze will shorten up to one turn for the first time since finishing third in the Grade 3 Iroquois going a mile at Churchill Downs during the fall of his 2-year-old campaign. He had won the Grade 2 Futurity at six furlongs earlier that season. Overanalyze, who ran in two of the three legs of this year’s Triple Crown, is coming off a distant third-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile West Virginia Derby.

“Mike [Repole] and I talked after the West Virginia Derby about what we could do to get this horse back on track,” Pletcher said. “He won his maiden impressively going five furlongs here last year, and his Futurity win was pretty impressive when he got pinched back at the start and made a late run. So rather doing what hasn’t worked lately, running him in long races, we decided to try this.”

Capo Bastone finished full of run to finish just a neck behind Forty Tales in the Derby Trial but did not get untracked soon enough to impact the seven-furlong Woody Stephens in his last start.

“Capo Bastone has been training so well lately,” Pletcher said. “I thought his breeze the other day with Verrazano was excellent, and he’s shown in the past he could compete in these types of races, so we felt let’s take a shot at it while he’s in good form.”

Mentor Cane has shown a world of promise in just four career starts but was his own worst enemy when he hampered jockey Edgar Prado by trying to drift out during his stakes debut in the Amsterdam. Despite the erratic trip and losing considerable ground around the turn, Mentor Cane was beaten just 2 1/2 lengths by Forty Tales, and trainer John Shirreffs is expecting his speedster to be better behaved for Saturday’s rematch.

“We’ve had Edgar work him in his last two works to get a little more familiar with this horse, and he’s worked very well for him,” Shirreffs said. “He went inside a horse one time and outside a horse the second time, and Edgar was real happy with him. He’s like a lot of Mizzen Masts. It takes them a little time to get it.”

Shirreffs is hoping Mentor Cane will be able to sit a nice trip forwardly placed in the big field just off the likely pace of the California speedball Let Em Shine, who led to midstretch in the Woody Stephens before giving way grudgingly to finish fourth, just a length behind Forty Tales.

Majestic Hussar, an impressive allowance winner when returning from a lengthy layoff earlier in the meet, and Salutos Amigos, who will break from the rail, also figure to ensure an honest pace.