Pletcher’s Derby Troop: Battalion Runner Won’t Ship For Santa Anita Derby

If there's any strength to be found in numbers, trainer Todd Pletcher certainly has it heading into the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Originally, he had considered the idea of sending the talented son of Unbridled's Song, Battalion Runner, all the way to California to contest the Santa Anita Derby on April 8. Instead, the colt will make his stakes debut in either the Wood Memorial, held the same day at Aqueduct, or the Arkansas Derby on April 15, according to drf.com.

Here's a brief look at the plans for the rest of Pletcher's Derby troop:

  • Florida Derby (April 1): Always Dreaming (Bodemeister) will make his stakes debut; Battalion Runner will be entered but is not expected to run (colts have a crossover in ownership, so Battalion Runner is being entered as a backup for Always Dreaming)
  • Louisiana Derby (April 1): Patch (Union Rags), a maiden winner for breeder Calumet Farm, makes his stakes debut; Monaco, a $1.3 million OBS purchase, is another maiden winner making his stakes debut in this spot
  • Blue Grass Stakes (April 8): Tapwrit (Tapit) will make his final prep against a tough group at Keeneland
  • Wood Memorial (April 8): Battalion Runner under consideration; One Liner (Into Mischief) under consideration
  • Santa Anita Derby (April 8): none likely
  • Arkansas Derby (April 15): Battalion Runner under consideration; One Liner under consideration; Malagacy (Shackleford) definitely entering this spot

Pletcher has been racking up victories in prep races across the Eastern half of the country this season, so his two maiden entrants in the Louisiana Derby should not be underestimated. It's even conceivable that the veteran trainer has a few more talented 3-year-olds in the wings, waiting to be entered in the final three rounds of Kentucky Derby preps.

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