Pletcher’s Belmont Duo Work ‘A Long Steady Five-Eighths With A Big Gallop-Out’

Trainer Todd Pletcher was a busy man Friday morning, shuttling between Belmont Park’s main track and training track as he fit in a number of scheduled works for next week’s Belmont Stakes Racing Festival in between the raindrops.

The trainer called an audible for his two Belmont Stakes contenders, sending them to the training track, where they breezed five furlongs with new workout partners in preparation for their dates with Triple Crown hopeful Justify in the 150th edition of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, presented by NYRA Bets, on Saturday, June 9.

First off was Noble Indy, who, equipped with blinkers and in company with Hyndford, went 1:01.22 with Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano aboard. In the next set, Vino Rosso and the Grade 1 Stephen Foster-bound Patch were caught in 1:01.55 under fellow Hall of Famer John Velazquez.

“I thought they both worked very well,” said Pletcher, who last year won his third Belmont Stakes with Tapwrit, joining Rags to Riches (2007) and Palace Malice (2013). “We got the type of [Belmont] work we were hoping for, kind of a long steady five-eighths with a big gallop-out. I got them both in around 1:42 for the mile which was what I was looking for. Both of them showed they were in good form.”

Last week, the duo went a half-mile together in a bullet 47.04 in their first work since the Kentucky Derby.

“Last week on the main track, they worked together and went a little quicker than I wanted,” said Pletcher. “I didn’t want to do that again. Today I wanted a long, stamina building work.

“The thing I liked about both horses was the work on the main track [last week] was as good as I’ve seen them go,” he added. “I wanted to go on the main track because of that this morning. I’m glad we got it in when we did. I think they showed last week they handled the main track very well and I hope that proves to be the case [in the Belmont].”

Pletcher, whose Madefromlucky and Materiality finished sixth and eighth, respectively, behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Belmont, said beating Justify would be a tall order for any of his Belmont rivals.

“I feel as good as I can feel,” he said. “With the five weeks in between races, and that they’ve been here at Belmont since two days after the Derby, we’re hoping that will give them a little bit of an edge. [But] I think, like all of us, we need Justify to wake up on the wrong side of the bed to have a chance.”

Pletcher also sent out stakes winners Hard Study and Outplay, who breezed a half-mile in 48.69 on the main track for the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational at 1 ½ miles; Grade 1 Humana Distaff runner-up Ivy Belle (49.11) and Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap winner Unbridled Mo (49.09) on the training track for the Grade 1, $750,000 Ogden Phipps; multiple stakes winner Blind Ambition in 48.89 on the training track for the Grade 2, $400,000 Jaipur Invitational; Grade 1 Man o’ War victor Hi Happy in 48.89 for the Grade 1, $1 million Woodford Reserve Manhattan, and 2-year-old Outshine in 49.87 for the $150,000 Tremont in Friday, June 8.

“I thought they all went well and they appear to be in good form,” said Pletcher.

Speaking of Belmont Stakes winners, last year’s hero Tapwrit will be making his first start since the 2017 Travers on Sunday at Belmont Park in the eighth race, a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer. The 4-year-old has been training steadily since April, including three works at Belmont Park, most recently covering a half-mile in 49.80 on Tuesday.

“He’s been training great,” said Pletcher. “He hasn’t run in a while but he’s been training like he’s good enough to run off the layoff. It’s good to have him back and we’re looking forward to getting a race into him. Hopefully this is the start of a successful campaign for him.”

Pletcher said the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban Handicap at 1 ¼ miles on July 7could be under consideration for Tapwrit should he run well.

The post Pletcher’s Belmont Duo Work ‘A Long Steady Five-Eighths With A Big Gallop-Out’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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