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Friday, November 23, 2007

Toddster Trio

- It may seem as if Pletcher has been less dominant over the last few months. At least it has to me, and to the point where I've become confident in opposing runners like Panty Raid, Pool Land, and Magna Graduate in the last couple of days. But the Toddster has now already surpassed the North American record for earnings in a year that he set last year. And the three graded stakes winners he had on Friday - two of them of the "other Pletcher" variety who picked up their more popular stablemates (though not those who bet on them) - give him, according to my unofficial statistics on Formulator, 53 graded stakes wins on the year. That equals the mark that he broke last year on the way to 57. And remember that he was out for 45 days serving his suspension. He's arguably having a better year than last, and will probably win the Eclipse again.

In the First Flight, Pool Land, the 2-1 second choice, could not get by 8-1 Lady Marlboro, who I picked for second in the analysis of the race that I never got around to finishing and posting, even as the pace slowed to 25 flat rounding the turn after a half of 47. Pool Land was done early in the stretch run, but Mini Sermon, the "other" Pletcher at 6-1, was sitting a perfect trip on the rail behind the dueling leaders. It took a lot of effort for her to finally get by a tough Lady Marlboro, but she finally edged past in a respectable, under the circumstances, final quarter of 25.33. The final time of 1:37.29 was just .37 seconds faster than an entry-level state-bred allowance the race before. No excuse I can see for Pool Land, other than I still think she's a two-turn filly, nor for Darley's favored Golden Velvet.

Mini Sermon, as opposed to Pool Land, clearly loves the one turn mile! She's just a neck from being unbeaten in four such races at three different tracks. She may not have loved Polytrack, and I'm thinking she was overlooked in this spot. This cleverly-named three year old is by Pulpit out of Ministorm, by Storm Cat.

A far less likely winner in my opinion was AP Arrow in the Clark at Churchill. He was the "third Pletcher" in this one, behind Magna Graduate, distinctly dead on the board at 5-1, and Fairbanks, who, also at 5-1, was the apparent main speed, but couldn't get by the 72-1 Plug Me In. AP Arrow reliably plods along for pieces of the purse, but the only times he's managed to win in the past were when the race completely fell apart up front. Don't know if I can say that in this case, as he battled back gamely to best the hard-to-figure Brass Hat, and came home in a decent 12.55 to finish in 1:48.66. He's a five-year old son of AP Indy, and I hope that they now retire him because I'm getting depressed at the thought of him being one of the top handicap horses next year.

I thought that The Leopard was the most impressive of the Toddster's trio. He was confidently rated in fifth in a change of tactics by Garrett Gomez, and moved up nicely around the turn. However, he had to take the wide route, first three wide, and he then had to swing out a good 4-5 wide turning for home. Still, he easily moved to the lead, and responded nicely under right handed whipping to repel a late challenge by second choice Indian Sun, and reward the chalk exacta bettors with a solid $20 return on a $2 bet. Pletcher said that the Cash Call Futurity, on the Cushion Track, is a possibility for The Leopard's next start. "We won't rule it out....I'll be anxious to see how he trains on the Cushion Track." [DRF]

The Leopard is one of ten stakes winners this year for Storm Cat, who currently ranks at #27 on the general sires list.


Teresa said...

One note, not to meant to diminish the wisdom and astutement of your writing: Pool Land was given to Albertrani before her most recent start--not sure exactly when, but her two starts this year have been for him.

I made the same mistake writing about Pool Land's comeback.

Teresa said...

"Astutement"? Yikes. "Astuteness."

No excuses for that one...