Jimmy Jerkens' reward for winning 24 races from 130 starters and purse money totaling $2.2 million for owner Edward Evans was to have the horses taken away. Tough business. Those were not the kind of stats that were crying out for Dan Bylsma or anything. But it's true that the new trainers, Kiaran McLaughlin, Anthony Dutrow, and Todd Pletcher, generally win at percentages higher than the nonetheless perfectly respectable 18% that Jerkens had for Evans (and are all doing so thus far this year).
However, it's been a slow Belmont thus far for the Toddster. Just five winners in 34 attempts; one in his last 18, two for his last 25. Four of the five winners won stakes - Munnings, Yes She's A Lady, Light Green [and Atoned]; and the other was the impressive American Dance (who he already trains for Evans....as he did the now stakes-placed Rap Tale), now headed to the Dwyer. So it's certainly been a case of quality over quantity!
If you look at the stats, the fact is that Pletcher's winning percentage has been on the decline on the NYRA circuit as opposed to elsewhere. He's won at a 17% clip on here over the last two years - 16% for the past year, and that's three points below his overall 20-19% over those respective time frames. He was 20-21% at NYRA tracks over the last four and five years, so you can see the way he's dropped off in the last two. Remember he had won those five straight training titles at Saratoga, but then had a long cold streak there in 2007 when Mott broke his streak. Interesting...I don't think Pletcher has ever really recovered from that in terms of his winning percentage here; seems to be a real turning point.
Anyway, the Toddster now has Quality Road, who might very well be the
best most talented three-year old colt this year; though, besides the obvious physical questions, I harbor doubts about his distance ability. He worked out last week, and they're aiming for the Haskell or Jim Dandy / Travers deal.
The article in the Form mentions that Quality Road is a temporary next-stall neighbor to Dunkirk. However, any friendship will be short-lived, as Dunkirk will be leaving shortly to recuperate from surgery to repair the condylar fracture discovered after the Belmont.
Pletcher said Dunkirk would be able to resume light training sometime in September.Well, I really hope - he's the kind of dead closer (at least at normal distances) I can really get into. But do you really think so? Could be that somewhere, the Stallion Register blurb is already written.
$3.7 million son of top sire Unbridled's Song. Finished 2nd in Grade 1 Florida Derby and Belmont Stakes. Earned 108 Beyer in third lifetime start.Sure would be a shame, especially since the colt got hurt running his heart out for a mile and a half in just his fifth career start, and his first real competitive race in ten weeks given his Derby disaster. I don't feel I'm second guessing here to wonder why he ran in that race, since I wrote all spring that I hated the way he was being prepped and campaigned up to the Derby and the Belmont. I didn't frame it though as being concerned for his physical well-being. Given the concern I expressed for Rachel Alexandra and the way I questioned the motives of her connections and accused them of being reckless, maybe I should have.