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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pletcher Positive is a Negative

- Todd Pletcher, one of the leading trainers in the game, is facing a possible suspension for an illegal substance found in one of his horses at Saratoga last summer. At Saratoga last summer? Why would it take almost a year?

Tales of Glory, who won a second-level allowance race at Saratoga last Aug. 4, had mepivacaine, an anesthetic, in his system following the race. The Association of Racing Commissioners International classifies mepivacaine a Class 2 drug, meaning it has "a high potential to affect performance." Mepivacaine is sometimes given to horses who are receiving stitches to repair a cut and can linger in a horse's system.
Though extenuating circumstances can cause penalties for a mepivacaine positive to vary, a trainer can receive as much as a 60-day suspension for such a violation, according to Stacy Clifford, spokeswoman for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. [Daily Racing Form]
Pletcher had 35 winners at the meeting last year. He’s a guy about whom people have whispered accusations given his recent dominance, and those whispers grew a bit louder when he got off to a slow start at the detention-barn Belmont meet. He’s since recovered, but this news, rightly or wrongly, is sure to revive suspicion. A drug suspension for such a high-profile guy would be typically unwelcome news for the sport as we head toward the Saratoga and Del Mar seasons.

- Frankel’s High Limit continues to work towards his return, getting five furlongs in 1:00.87 on Wednesday morning. He’s heading to the Leonard Richard Stakes at Delaware on July 17; that’s where he started his career with two spectacular wins. "I want to get a win into him," Frankel said when asked why he chose the Leonard Richards. [Daily Racing Form] He’ll spend the weekend at Delaware, as he’s pointing Sis City to the rich Delaware Oaks the day before.

- Five favorites under even money at Belmont Wednesday with three more less than 2-1. Not all of the favorites won. Consecutive .45 - 1 favorites went down in the 4th and 5th. Michael Dickinson, who had been 4 for 7 at the meet, sent Affirmed Royalty in the 4th and saw him run more than 17 lengths back in 5th, creating show prices of $23.60 and $21.40 (an entry ran 1-3). The winner, Starduster, ended an 0-44 streak for jockey Chantal Sutherland. And in the 5th, it was Dominick Galluscio’s 2-5 favorite Meniscus, a previously 2-2 3 yo by Raffie’s Majesty getting necked by a 10-1 shot and Elbar Coa.

Another first-time longshot in the state-bred maiden grass race; we’ve seen a series of them in the 10 to 15-1 range. If you like the breeding or something about a firster in these races - this one in the 9th was by Langfuhr out of a Fit to Fight mare - it seems like you should just forget the board and bet it. Two winners each for Allan Jerkins and Nick Zito, including the aforementioned Commentator.

- Wild Desert will be pointed to the Canadian Triple Crown, according to owner Dan Borislow; the next race is the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on July 17.

- All the details on ordering tickets for the Breeders Cup races at Belmont October 27 are here. Inflated prices once again, with $10/$25 grandstand and clubhouse admission respectively.