Pletcher ‘Won’t Rule Anything Out’ With Sharp Oaklawn Maiden Winner Intrepid Heart

Todd Pletcher shipped four horses to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., last week, with the most intriguing being one that had never started. Triple Crown nominee Intrepid Heart didn’t let the trainer down, rolling to a 7 3/4-length victory in Monday’s third race under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.

Intrepid Heart races for Robert and Lawana Low of Springfield, Mo., who purchased the gray son of super sire Tapit for $750,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s April sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Pletcher and the Lows teamed to win the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) for 3-year-olds last year at Oaklawn with Magnum Moon, whose career debut had come Jan. 13 at Gulfstream Park. Magnum Moon won the Rebel – his stakes debut – in his third lifetime start.

“I think it’s a wait and see,” Pletcher said Monday night, when asked about Intrepid Heart’s next race. “I’m not sure that we’ll jump into a stake just yet, but at the same time we won’t rule anything out.”

Intrepid Heart led at every point of call in the mile race, but was pressed most of the way by Better Charge It on the outside. The 4-5 favorite finally shook clear approaching the quarter pole and drew off in the short stretch run to cover the distance over a fast track in 1:38.08. Intrepid Heart had a string of works since late December at Palm Beach Downs in south Florida before being flown to Arkansas Feb. 13. The Lows call Oaklawn their home track.

“Very, very pleased,” Pletcher said. “It’s not something we usually do, shipping an unstarted maiden somewhere, but just felt like he was getting ready to go and the Gulfstream options were going to be six furlongs, which I felt like were a little too short. It’s either that or you wait a couple of weeks until a mile and a sixteenth. With the 1-mile race there, we felt like he was ready to go. Since we had some other horses ship in, decided to go forward with that.”

Intrepid Heart is a half-brother to Commissioner, runner-up in the Belmont Stakes and sixth in the Arkansas Derby in 2014.

“Really pleased with the way he handled himself,” Pletcher said. “Put himself in a good position early on. He’s a horse that’s very well bred. Lot of stamina on the bottom side, so we felt like a mile was a good starting point for him and hopefully that propels him on to some bigger and better things down the road.”

The $1 million Rebel (G2) at 1 1/16 miles is March 16. The $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at 1 1/8 miles is April 13.

Pletcher’s horses were flown back to south Florida Tuesday. Pletcher won the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses on Monday with Coal Front.

The post Pletcher ‘Won’t Rule Anything Out’ With Sharp Oaklawn Maiden Winner Intrepid Heart appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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