Luis Saez To Ride Pletcher-Trained Unbridled Honor In Preakness

Todd Pletcher, Thoroughbred racing’s newest Hall of Fame trainer, will take aim at the May 15 Preakness Stakes (G1) – the only Triple Crown race he has yet to win – with Unbridled Honor.

Pletcher’s election to the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. was announced Wednesday. The 53-year-old, who gained entry in his first year of eligibility, holds the record for career-earnings ($405,791,077) and ranks seventh all-time with 5,118 wins, including 708 graded-stakes victories. He has saddled two Kentucky Derby (G1) winners – Super Saver (2010) and Always Dreaming (2017) – and three Belmont Stakes (G1) champions – filly Rags to Riches (2007), Palace Malice (2013) and Tapwrit (2017).

Unbridled Honor, a gray Whisper Hill Farm homebred son of Honor Code, will be Pletcher’s 10th Preakness runner and his first since Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming finished eighth in 2017. His best finish was a third with his first starter, Impeachment, in 2000.

The Preakness will be Unbridled Honor’s first start since his runner-up finish in the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland on April 10. The late-running colt was a dozen lengths off the early pace in the Lexington and ended up 2 ¾ lengths behind the winner, King Fury. In his previous start, the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), he was forced to try to close into a slow early pace and finished fourth, seven lengths in back of Helium.

“He’s a horse that we’ve always had high hopes for,” Pletcher said Friday. “He’s always trained really well and he’s still sort of putting it all together in race situations. We thought he made a move forward in the Tampa Derby when he ran a sneaky-good fourth and was finishing arguably the best of anyone in the field. He came back and was second-best in the Lexington. That was another improving effort.”

Unbridled Honor will have his final Preakness work Saturday morning and is scheduled to ship from Belmont Park to Pimlico on Tuesday. Pletcher said that the Preakness, led by front-running Derby winner Medina Spirit, could provide an ideal scenario for the colt.

“We like the way he’s training and if he could get a decent pace up front to run at, we feel that if he can take another step forward he’s in the mix,” Pletcher said.

Jockey Luis Saez will replace Julien Leparoux in the saddle for the Preakness, his first mount on the colt.

“We’ve had a lot of luck with Luis,” Pletcher said. “He’s riding great and we’re happy to have him.”

The post Luis Saez To Ride Pletcher-Trained Unbridled Honor In Preakness appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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