Updated on 09/18/2011 1:18AM

Scat Daddy gives Pletcher another record

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Scat Daddy wins the Grade 1, $400,000 Champagne Stakes by three-quarters of a length at Belmont Park on Saturday.

Todd Pletcher's hand for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile got significantly stronger on Saturday, when Scat Daddy proved he could stretch out in distance and ran down favored Nobiz Like Shobiz to win the Grade 1, $400,000 by three-quarters of a length at Belmont Park.

Nobiz Like Shobiz, who was pinched back at the start, ran a strong race to be second, a half-length ahead of pacesetting Pegasus Wind. My Golden Opinion finished fourth and was followed in the order of finish by Got the Last Laugh, Xchanger, I'm a Numbers Guy, Buffalo Man, Liquidity, and Big Timer.

Pletcher will now take three graded stakes winners to Churchill Downs for the Juvenile on Nov. 4, including Circular Quay and King of the Roxy.

The Champagne was the 93rd stakes victory for Pletcher this year, enabling him to break the single-season record of 92 set by his mentor, D. Wayne Lukas, in 1987. It was also Pletcher's 52nd graded stakes score this year, putting him one behind Lukas's record of 53.

"It's a little bit bittersweet because Wayne held the record, and all of his accomplishments I hold in the highest regard," said Pletcher, who worked as an assistant to Lukas for eight years. "Honestly, I didn't think it was a record that could be broken."

Lukas, who was here to saddle third-place finisher Pegasus Wind, said: "If it was going to be broken - and it was a tough one to break - I'm glad it was Todd."

Scat Daddy won his first two starts, including the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes, but was beaten by stablemate Circular Quay in the Grade 1 Hopeful, in which he overcame a bumping incident between horses to finish second. In the Sanford, Scat Daddy overcame being boxed in for a good part of the race to run down a loose-on-the-lead Teuflesberg.

"Trying to teach him something at Saratoga paid off today," said winning rider John Velazquez. "Not only that, he handled the distance better than I thought he would."

Scat Daddy settled into mid-pack and raced between horses while Pegasus Wind, under Mike Luzzi, carved out fractions of 24 seconds and 47.78. Nobiz Like Shobiz, after his troubled beginning, saved ground and advanced into second around the far turn.

Velazquez moved Scat Daddy four wide at the five-sixteenths pole and had dead aim on Nobiz Like Shobiz, who overtook Pegasus Wind at the eighth pole. Scat Daddy struck the front inside the sixteenth pole and drew clear for the victory. Scat Daddy, a son of Johannesburg owned by James Scatuorchio and Michael Tabor, covered the mile in 1:36.97 and returned $7.40 to win.

"With each race, he's gotten a little better and a little more professional," Pletcher said. "He worked his way through traffic and made a big late run."