PLETCHER TRIO WORKS TOWARDS BELMONT
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher sent a trio of Belmont Stakes contenders in Bourbonic, Known Agenda and Overtook to breeze on Big Sandy on Friday morning at Belmont Park, scheduled for June 5.
Known Agenda, piloted by Irad Ortiz, Jr., worked outside of Grade 1 Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap contender Dr Post, with Hall of Famer John Velazquez up, covering five-eighths in 1:02.54 over the fast main track.
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“I thought it was a good progressive breeze that should bring them both forward. In particular, I liked the way they galloped out,” said Pletcher. “I had them out in 1:14.4, 1:27.1 and 1:41 for the mile. I thought we accomplished what we were hoping to.”
Known Agenda, winner of the Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in March, worked without blinkers. Last out, after leaving the inside post in the Kentucky Derby, the Curlin chestnut closed from 17th to finish ninth.
“Sometimes he breezes with them, but we’re saving them for the race,” said Pletcher. “Sometimes, you get a little more bang for your buck if you don’t overuse them.”
Known Agenda was a maiden winner at second asking traveling nine furlongs in November at the Big A, and followed with a third in the Grade 2 Remsen in December at Aqueduct.
After finishing fifth in his seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs, Pletcher added blinkers to Known Agenda who promptly won an optional-claiming route on February 26 at Gulfstream by a widening 11 lengths ahead of his Florida Derby score.
Calumet Farm homebred Bourbonic, winner of the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino in April at the Big A, worked a half-mile in company with Overtook in 48.82. Overtook, with Manny Franco in the irons, worked inside of Bourbonic, guided by exercise rider Hector Ramos.
“They went off a touch quick but finished steadily,” said Pletcher. “I particularly liked the way they galloped out. I had them out seven-eighths in 1:27 and 4. I was pleased.”
Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable, Michael B. Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s Overtook graduated at third asking traveling a one-turn mile in December at the Big A. Following a closing second in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Withers in February at Aqueduct, the Curlin bay returned off the layoff to finish a flat third in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Peter Pan on May 8 on Big Sandy.
Pletcher said Overtook, a $1 million Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, should appreciate the added distance second time off the shelf.
“He’s a steady, one-run kind of horse and the Peter Pan didn’t develop with much pace. I thought considering that he actually ran pretty well,” said Pletcher. “I think having a race under his belt should help him. Of course, this will be a much more difficult task but he’s well-bred for the distance and we’re hoping that’s the key for him having success.”
Bourbonic, a dark bay Bernardini colt, rallied last-to-first under Kendrick Carmouche at odds of 72-1 to notch a record upset in the nine-furlong Wood Memorial. Last out, the late-running bay exited the outermost post in the 19-horse Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and improved belatedly along the rail to finish 13th.