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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Pletcher Strikes Out After 4-Bagger

I know that Todd Pletcher had won with his first four runners on Tuesday's Belmont card, coming consecutively, in the second through fifth races.

But 9-5 on Keyed Entry in the Dwyer? Even with opponents that had questions surrounding them, such as Da Stoops and Strong Contender, and even with the gift of hindsight of his last place finish, I think I can question the wisdom of my fellow New York horseplayers on this one. Coming off his last place finish in the Derby, continuing questions about his distance ability, and the presence of other speed in the race, this one hardly seemed like a wager at odds like those.

Strong Contender merely observed the proceedings as Da Stoops and Dontfearthereaper moved to challenge the favorite, and John Ward said "This is probably a style that is more suitable for him. Just laying back and not being in contention early." [Brisnet]

Two of Pletcher's winners on the day were first-time starters. In the second, Spring At Last was the second choice to Frankel returnee Brilliant Cut, and was lagging behind as that one set the pace to the half mile mark. But Spring At Last swept four wide on the turn and, as related by the race chart, drew clear after one left handed slap [by John Velazquez], and won by five. This three-year colt is by Silver Deputy, and is a half-brother to the Grade 1 winner Sharp Lisa, third to Hollywood Story in the Vanity on Sunday.

In the 5th, a two-year old maiden affair, Pletcher sent out an even-money favored entry of two first-timers, and got the money with Soaring By (Deputy Minister), a similarly easy five length winner. Out of a mare by Northjet, Soaring By is a half to two Japanese stakes winners.

Soaring By's time was almost two full seconds faster than Pletcher's Tremont winner Out Of Gwedda. But that can probably be explained by the fact that the latter stumbled and almost went down coming out of the gate. Velazquez explained: "He got up, I gave him a little slap and he just started running. I just sat against him and he responded." There were only three overmatched rivals, one of whom also stumbled at the start, so it was more like a public workout. As described by Bloodhorse.com,
it was an effort with no effort. The G2 Saratoga Special on August 17 is likely his next race.

Pletcher's 4th winner was Advisor, a $350,000 Tale of the Cat colt who debuted unsuccessfully for a mere $25,000 tag at Monmouth before stepping up and winning for $35,000 here. Even the trainer's "failures" find the winner's circle, this one with Mike Luzzi battling back on the inside after surrendering the lead.

6 Comments:

Kashatreya said...

Pletcher's entire handling of Keyed Entry has been odd. Despite the obvious evidence that the horse had no desire whatsoever to run 1 1/4, he ran him in the Derby, even though it meant keeping out Sunriver. Then, still given the fact that the horse has never indicated he wants 9 furlongs, he scratched out of more logical spots (Woody Stephens & Jersey Shore) to run in the Dwyer, where again, it wasn't surprising that he finished last. It's a rare case of mismanagement by Pletcher, and somewhat surprising given that he's not exactly lacking in 3yos that can route.

Walter said...

...i don't think the Dwyer was a particularly bad spot for Keyed Entry...it was one-turn race, and Keyed Entry did post a decent effort in the 1 1/16 Gotham earlier this year...i certainly think he had a much better chance in the Dwyer than he would've in the Woddy Stephens (vs. Too Much Bling and Songster), the race from which he was entered and scratched...i do think it's odd that he ran Keyed Entry in the Derby over Sunriver, who would've stood a much better chance, but i think that's more the owners' call than it is Pletcher's...can't really fault him for that...i do think it's safe to assume we'll be seeing him in sprints from here on out, but as i mentioned before the Woody Stephens, i think his speed has been dulled by all the route tries...might take him a while to get it back, if he ever does...

alan said...

I have to say that his effort in the Gotham is still intriguing to me, the way he seemed to rate. So I guess I can't blame Pletcher for giving it one more try (though I certainly didn't like him), but I hope he gets the message now.

Anonymous said...

Walter, if you want to see the replay of Out of Gwedda's last race, here's the link for Belmont replays. http://www.racereplays.com/nyra/index.cfm?start=gen_nyra

3rd Race on the 4th of July.
There's a sign in requirement, logon id and password you have to set up. From the angle of the camera on the gate, its difficult to see just how bad the stumble was ... Nick

Anonymous said...

If Keyed Entry didnt bleed or suffer some type of injury in this last race, he's protecting himself. He's bred to be a miler, sprinter....I think they hurt this horse in the routes. By that I mean, when horses go longer than they are physically are bred to go, it hurts them. Lungs, muscles, everything hurts...after a couple three times of going out and experiencing this, they protect themselves and stop to a walk. They get tired of it. This one may be spoiled now. Sprints or not, he may never give a good account of himself again. There's no doubt in my mind either that the owners more than Pletcher wanted this horse on the Derby trail...from the time he won at GS in that 71/2 F Hutcheson he should have been a miler. 107 and change for 6F in that race....talent wasted and now maybe ruined altogether. Nick

Walter said...

...thanks for the link, Nick...there are a couple of replay machines out here in Vegas though, so it's not really a problem for me...i do intend to watch Out of Gwedda, and particularly Soaring By who ran on the same card...no doubt we'll learn more about those two @ Saratoga...

...ps...i'd love to see EZ Warrior ship out there and tackle the Hopeful (as did Came Home a few years ago), if for no other reason than to se how he'd handle a non-California track...being trained by Baffert though, i don't see it happening...we'll see...