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Pletcher Plots Path for Promising 3-year-olds
By Ed Gray
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Todd Pletcher has so many promising 3-year-old colts that his most pressing challenge may be to work out a schedule of future stops on the Road to the Kentucky Derby for all of them.
The primary goal of trainers with multiple Triple Crown hopefuls is usually to keep their paths from crossing, but Pletcher may well make an exception for the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream on Feb. 26.
Two of Pletcher’s more exciting prospects are currently penciled in to start in the 1 1/16-mile prep for the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 31. The eight-time defending Gulfstream training champion has determined that both Discreet Dancer and Algorithms would benefit from the experience in the two-turn Fountain of Youth.
Although Discreet Dancer missed a workout last Monday due to a high temperature, Pletcher said the undefeated colt is still on course for the Fountain of Youth.
“He had a 102-and-change temperature. We cancelled the work and did some blood work on him. Everything came back normal and he’s had a couple of good days since then,” he said. “We think we’re still on schedule for the Fountain of Youth. Obviously, we’ll have a key work on Monday and if we can get two more works, I think we’ll be OK. But we’ll need to see those works to know for sure.”
Discreet Dancer debuted at Gulfstream on Dec.3 with a sparkling romp by nearly 10 lengths at 5 ½ furlongs. The son of Discreet Cat stretched out to a mile on Jan 7 and posted a front-running 5 ½-length victory.
Undefeated Algorithms, who debuted at Belmont on last June to win a 5-furlong sprint by more than five lengths, is also 2-for-2 during the Gulfstream meeting. The son of Bernardini notched a length victory in a 6 ½ -furlong allowance on Dec. 16, before drawing off to a five-length triumph in the one-mile Holy Bull (G3) on Jan. 29.
“Right now, we’re looking at the Fountain of Youth for him too. He came out of the Holy Bull, really well. His energy is good. His weight’s good,” Pletcher said. “We feel like he needs two-turn experience, so right now we’re leaning toward the Fountain of Youth. If we feel like we need more time, we’ll just wait on the Florida Derby.”
Pletcher also trains El Padrino, a colt with stakes experience as a 2-year-old who made an auspicious 2012 debut by winning a stakes-quality optional claiming allowance race at Gulfstream on Jan. 29 by two lengths.
“He’s a talented colt that we’ve thought a lot about from the very beginning. We felt in the allowance race he really put it all together. He’s maturing at the right time,” Pletcher said. “He’s strong, well-minded colt, so we’re keen on him.”
With so many promising 2-year-olds in his barn, Pletcher must ship some to other racing venues. El Padrino, who finished third in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct in November, is likely to start in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds on Feb. 25. Undefeated Gemologist, who captured the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill on Nov. 26 in his last start, is expected to make his 2012 debut in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn on March 17.