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Mar 16, 2007

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


            Here at the American Turf Club we always like to give you our top five or top 10 list of horses leading into the Kentucky Derby but this week we are going to do something a little different. We are going to give you our top five Todd Pletcher Kentucky Derby list. Pletcher has so many contenders for the first Saturday in May that we thought we would take a look at his chances.

  1. CIRCULAR QUAY- Had a ton of trouble in his first start of the year in the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds when he finished fifth but he bounced back with a huge effort in the Louisiana Derby scoring by more than two lengths. This good looking son of Kentucky Derby winner THUNDER GULCH seems to be improving with each start around two turns and we have not seen the best of him yet.      
  2. SCAT DADDY- This son of JOHANNESBURG had a solid two year old year in which he beat the highly regarded NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont before finishing a disappointing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Junvenile behind CIRCULAR QUAY who finished second that day. In his first start back in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream he was no match for NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ who easily turned the tables beating him by almost three lengths as SCAT DADDY finished third. In his next start however in the Fountain of Youth at 1 and 1/8th miles, SCAT DADDY coming from off the pace this day racing in sxith early on got up at the wire to score by a nose. Although his breeding may not suggest that he would relish the 1 and ¼ miles distance his win at 1 and 1/8th miles was solid and Pletcher is a great trainer who can get him to relax enough to get the distance.
  3. ANY GIVEN SATURDAY- Aptly named colt may have a chance to get it done on the first Saturday in May if he can continue improving. He has three wins from four starts as of this writing as he readies himself for a match-up with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile hero STREET SENSE who is expected to make his first start of the year in the Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday March 17th. His only loss came against the highly regarded TIZ WONDERFUL back in November at Churchill Downs but that bodes well for this horse because Churchill at times could be a difficult track to handle so we know that he can handle that surface. DISTORTED HUMOR is his sire and he sired FUNNY CIDE to victory a few years back and with A. P. INDY on the bottom the distance won’t be a problem.
  4. RAVEL- This colt is by FUSAICHI PEGASUS out of an A. P. INDY mare. You would be hard pressed to find a better bred horse in this Derby field. This Pletcher trainee is on the West Coast preparing for the Derby and he has two wins from three tries. His most recent win came in the Grade III Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. With only three starts at this point in his career he may lack a little in experience but he has a ton of talent. He has enough tactical speed to stay close if need be or he can come from well off the pace; this one may have the most upside so it will be interesting to see how he comes along.
  5. RAGS TO RICHES- Although this three year old is a filly and probably will not run in the Kentucky Derby because of the amount of horses Pletcher has for the race she is the most talented three year old filly out there. She has three wins from four starts and her most recent effort at Santa Anita was a dominating one. If there was going to be a filly that would have a chance against the boys this would be the one. Her sire is A. P. INDY out of a DEPUTY MINISTER mare. She is bred to get the distance but she will probably point to the Kentucky Oaks and should be a handful is she makes it to that race.

As the preps come in we will try and give you the analyses of all of them and keep you updated right to the Kentucky Derby. Good Luck!



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