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Aug 02, 2013

Pletcher 3-year-olds gain in NTRA Poll


New York, NY (Sports Network) - Trainer Todd Pletcher swept the two major stakes races for 3-year-olds over the weekend with both colts entering the NTRA National Poll off the victories.

Saturday in the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, Palace Malice followed up his Belmont Stakes win with a one-length victory for owner Dogwood Stable. One day later, Verrazano scored a 9 3/4-length triumph in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

"You hate to say it was a bigger performance than winning the Belmont, but it certainly looked that way," Pletcher said after Palace Malice posted his third career win.

"This was one of the most impressive - if not the most impressive - races by any 3-year-old this year," the trainer expressed on Verrazano's Haskell win. "I would say this was his most impressive race for a horse that's near perfect minus the sloppy race in the Kentucky Derby."

Verrazano, owned by Let's Go Stable and partners, edged his stablemate by 10 points for seventh-place in the voting. The Haskell champ received one top vote and 138 points to Palace Malice's 128 points. Both colts are expected to start in the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 24.

The remainder of the poll held firm their positions with just the bottom couple of horses getting nudged back by the two 3-year-olds.

Horse of the Year Wise Dan garnered 31 first-place votes and 442 points as he increased his margin by 14 points over Game On Dude. The 6-year-old gelding starts next at Saratoga on Aug. 10 in the Fourstardave Handicap.

Game On Dude picked up 13 first-place votes and 409 points. The 6-year-old gelding makes his next start on Aug. 25 at Del Mar in the Pacific Classic with Joel Rosario riding.

Fort Larned got a single first-place vote with 330 points. He is nominated for Saturday's Whitney Invitational at Saratoga.

Point of Entry (238), Royal Delta (184) and Sahara Sky (149) hold down the next three positions ahead of the two new entrants.

Flat Out and Obviously both dropped two rungs with 99 and 93 points, respectively.

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