HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – While the Fountain of Youth showcased the 3-year-olds most seriously pursuing the Triple Crown trail, the winner of Saturday’s sixth race may not be far behind them.
Todd Pletcher found himself with yet another promising sophomore when Constitution, under Javier Castellano, cruised home in an allowance optional claiming event 3 ¼ lengths ahead of Tonalist and Mexikoma. The son of Tapit and the Distorted Humor mare Baffled covered the 1 1/16th mile distance in 1:42.19. He is now two-for-two lifetime after debuting impressively at Gulfstream on January 11th.
Pletcher expressed going in that he expected Constitution to show more speed after the colt broke poorly in his first start, and he got what he wanted when the colt broke sharply and set the pace on the rail. Then he turned away every foe that pressured him.
“It actually played out really well,” Pletcher said. “I just wanted to make sure we got to the first turn in a good position. I don’t know why he broke as poorly as he did first time because he’s not a bad gate horse, but he broke cleanly today and Javier was able to get to the position we wanted to be in, and he ran really well from there.”
Pletcher nominated a record 42 horses for the 2014 Triple Crown, and he believes Constitution, though relatively inexperienced, fits right in with the group.
“He’s certainly very talented,” Pletcher said. “The issue that we have with all of these that are only making their second start and didn’t start until this year, historically, I think we’re trying to buck a trend, but I think we have a horse that’s talented enough to keep moving in the right direction.”
Another of Pletcher’s lightly raced 3-year-olds got a win in the fifth race. Global Strike, also Triple Crown nominated, took the maiden special weight event by 1¼ lengths in his third career start. The son of Smart Strike and Misty Lady (ARG), by Lucky Roberto, had to work a little harder for his win than did Constitution, overcoming some antics in the gate and a stumble at the start. Nonetheless, he held off a late challenge from I’mbetterthangood.
“It was gutsy,” Pletcher said. “He kind of put himself into a bad spot when he didn’t behave very well in the gate. They had a tail on him and I think that caused him to get away like he did. I’m always happy to win, but I think there’s more there than we saw today.”
Who’s Hot: The Pletcher-Castellano team dominated Saturday’s card. Castellano had six wins on the day, riding his way to the Winner’s Circle in his four of his first five races. He prevailed in the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth (He did not have a mount in Race 2) before taking two of the day’s three stakes, the Davona Dale (G2) aboard Onlyforyou and the Canadian Turf (G3) aboard Reload. He was just one win shy of tying Jerry Bailey’s record for most wins on a single card (7).
Pletcher, meanwhile, took the first, fifth, sixth, and ninth races with his trainees, all of which were piloted by Castellano. This included Constitution and Global Strike, as well as Onlyforyou in the Davona Dale and All Tied Up in the opener. Pletcher and Castellano lead Gulfstream’s trainer and jockey standings, respectively. Rainbow Six Carryover: $1,353,210.22
Super Hi-5 Carryover: $7,024.77